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Any framer worth their gold leaf will be conversant with conservation framing methods. Knowing when to use a museum mount board or conservation mount card is essential to the picture framing craft. Picture framers should also understand how to protect valuable artworks from environmental damage; when extra crossbar supports are needed to strengthen a large stretcher frame, and what glass thickness to use with each moulding choice.
Large picture frames
Another important consideration when framing a large picture is the sturdiness of the moulding, and by that, I mean how secure a mouldings corner joints are when pinned and glued together. Will they be strong enough to support the combined weight of the picture plus glass?
A picture framer should know if the weight of a large finished frame will stress its corner joints. The bottom line is that large framed artworks need to be framed in mouldings with a wide profile so that the joints can be robustly secured with additional pins.
The type of wood also plays into it. Some softwood mouldings are not sturdy enough to support lateral movement when handling a large framed artwork and can result in the corner pins failing.
Lastly, the glass width must also be considered. There is a considerable difference in weight between 3 mills and 5 mills glass which can greatly impact the overall sturdiness of a frame.
Picture framers knowledge
If a framer doesn’t know his/her Picasso’s from his Shane Clark’s, whoever Picasso is, you should avoid their service! Handing a valuable work of art to a picture framer when the picture framer doesn’t know its value, is asking for trouble. Most professional picture framers should have insurance to cover the storage of valuable artworks, but if in doubt it is best to ask.
To test your framer let them lead you. If they seem confident with the framing language, if they talk about a mount card’s colour being too cool or overpowering, or make constructive comments about an artwork, or enquire about where the artwork will hang, you are probably in safe hands.