How to Clean glass before putting a frame together

How to Clean glass before putting a frame together


Once the frame and guts are cut for a picture frame (the guts being the mount, backing card and glass) the assembly can begin. Cleaning the glass and putting everything into the frame without maddening specks of dust rearing their ugly heads is a tricky and time consuming part of the process.

Framers can be driven mad by dust particles suddenly appearing when the frame has been sealed up. It is time costly as the frame then needs to be completely or partially opened up.

To avoid this the framer needs to control the assembly part of the process. Firstly the assembly of any frame should be done in the least dusty area of the workshop. I like to lay a clean sheet of paper under the area, mount and glass I am about to clean.

The glass is then cleaned with standard framers glass cleaner. Once this is done the glass looks clean and the mount is inspected for dust and any found brushed away.

The problems arise when the glass and mounted artwork are put together. Static and air pressure conspire to pull into the sandwich any homeless dust particle.

To help mitigate this problem the best trick is to minimize handling time whilst the glass and mount are separated. So check the mount first and stand it in an upright position. Clean the glass and immediately place the mount face down onto the glass.

Lift the sandwich turning the artwork so that it faces you and hold it in an upright position making sure that the glass and mount are held firmly together. If it is free from dust it can then be placed gently into the frame holding the sandwich together firmly.

By holding the sandwich in an upright position it stops any dust creeping in that might be sitting on the worktop and you can easily separate the glass and mountcard to remove it.

Another check is now needed to make sure that no dust has crept in. At this point I put in a couple of pins in the back and check again. The last thing you want is to have to remove 20 pins if you now find a dust speck when removing 2 is much easier.

Many modern framers use air guns that shoot high pressure air over the glass before putting the mount and glass together. I have worked without this tool and never had serious psychological problems!

I have found that dust dangers lurk in the edges of mountcards that are not cut cleanly with a sharp blade, artworks that have surface particles and a generally dusty work area. You might find too that mornings are often the best time to put artworks together.

However you look at it, dust is the enemy of the picture framer and many have been lead to desperation because of it.

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