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Best way to straighten a photo. Yard long type.


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#1 oldfireguy

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 04:49 PM

I picked up several of these today at a garage sale and all are curled and have been stored that way for a bit. Anyone have a method to safely uncurl these things without cracking them?

#2 Sgt. Boghots

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 08:47 PM

I've had some success, and some failures over the years. Bottom line is that they were rolled when new for shipment, mailing, etc. - So the longer they stay that way, the more drying and "memory" for their shape that they retain.

I've tried various techniques involving steam, moisture. I would strongly advise that you skip 'em all.

I would first suggest you first try flat-pressing them with uniform weight and contact. You can use paper towel to seperate the photos from whatever you use as weight. - Press 'em and leave 'em be. - Remember, you haven't owned them for the last 70-100 years, what's a few more weeks in a press ? - Just let them be.

Pressing them won't cure them. At best it will reduce the curl enough so they can be framed. I consider it a success if the pressing reduces the curl enough so they can be re-rolled in the opposite direction, but rolled to a much bigger diameter - not so tight as original rolling.

Re-rolling in the opposite direction, and putting rubber bands, maybe 4 or 5 sets evenly spaced, and letting 'em set again for a couple of weeks, will often make them pretty flat.

Now all of the above techniques and results are "general advise". Them amount of aging and damage can vary from picture to picture. I've had some WW1's come out better than WW2's . . . just because of the difference in condition.

But in nearly all cases, I ended up in better shape than where I started. - Some of them have been rolled so tight, for so long, it takes a whole family to hold them down to get a look at them.

One more thing; when you get them unrolled as much as possible, scan them BEFORE framing and further preservation. Adobe Acrobat, and other programs allow you to scan them in sections and merge them. Then you'll have them on your computer for better detail examination without hurting them, and you can frame the results of your work and hang them on the wall.

Heres a couple of my favorite examples. B Co. 1st Reg't. 27th Marines, 1944. A lot of these fellas didn't leave Iwo Jima, though many of them had lived through hell in the Pacific before joining the 5th Division, USMC.

This originally rolled photo was broken into three sections, pasted to backing board, and stayed in a trunk for decades. The resolution of the original is very high, as are most of the old rolled photos. But the details are much more usable in computer-saved format:

The three pieces put together:

B_1_27_on_7_12_44___Copy_Forum_resized.jpg

#3 Sgt. Boghots

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 08:49 PM

... and one more blow-up of the left hand section:

B_1_27_sgts_forum_resize.jpg

Best regards, have fun, and good luck !!

Paul

#4 Jack's Son

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 08:49 PM

FOURM SUPPORT..................Where are you??

#5 Sgt. Boghots

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 08:53 PM

FOURM SUPPORT..................Where are you??


... afraid I don't get your drift ??

Paul Walker
Klamath Falls, Or.

#6 Jack's Son

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 09:02 PM

... afraid I don't get your drift ??
Paul Walker
Klamath Falls, Or.

Hi Paul,
With a bit of a smile in my plea, I called on FS. :)
He has had many experiences with these photos. :thumbsup:

JS

#7 Bob Hudson

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 09:07 PM

... afraid I don't get your drift ??

Paul Walker
Klamath Falls, Or.


I spend a lot of time working with old photos....

Someone called me the other day with some yardlongs they wanted to sell: I told him that they are a pain to display :)

I unroll them face down and then start laying heavy books on them. The hardest part can be getting them to hold still while you pile on the weight. It helps to have three hands.

#8 Sgt. Boghots

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 09:25 PM

Hi Paul,
With a bit of a smile in my plea, I called on FS. :)
He has had many experiences with these photos. :thumbsup:

JS


Understood, JS.

No problem :thumbsup:

Paul

#9 oldfireguy

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 09:45 PM

Thanks guys. I'll give the book method a try.

#10 panzerbait

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 09:43 AM

Thanks guys. I'll give the book method a try.

Have you tried a humidity chamber? I work at a military museum that gets loads of old, rolled up photos and we've found that we prefer this method because you won't "crack" or damage the photos as they flatten out. It's easy too. You find a large plastic container, like a storage container and put a wet paper bath towel in the bottom (not soaking wet, just damp). Next, put a plastic grate on top of the towel, then carefully lay the photo top of the grate. Take care to make sure the photo doesn't come into direct contact with the wet towel. Next, put a cover on the container and let it sit for a few days. the humidity will add enough moisture to the photo to mostly uncurl it. Take it out after it becomes softer, then you can lay it out flat between some acid free material and put something heavy on it. It's a little work, but not hard to do and you stand a better chance of not wrecking the photos. I'd recommend practicing on a photo that doesn't have as much historical importance if you want to get a feel for how the process works.

#11 Cobrahistorian

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 10:39 AM

Hey all,

Humidification is the way to go. The procedure that Panzerbait described isn't too bad. Here's how we do it in the museum world. I've taken the procedures I've used at work and have adapted it for home use, so pretty much anyone can do it.

First, you'll need some supplies.

1. A baking pan, about 3" deep that you can put water in
2. a baking rack that can be laid across (but NOT in) the top of the baking pan
3. HOT tap water
4. some form of container that can be placed over the entire setup to keep the moisture in.
5. If you can get it, spun polyester sheeting is ideal for interleaving between photos, but you can use sheets of gauze or cheesecloth if you can't get poly sheets
6. weights. In the conservation lab I worked in, we had 4"x4"x1/2" plexiglass weights. I've found that bags of fishing weights work just fine.

Ok, first thing you do is take a sheet of poly/gauze/cheesecloth and lay it over the baker's rack. Take your photo/document and unroll it face down on the rack. You want it so that the curve goes upwards. Place another sheet of your material (poly/cheesecloth) over your photo and then place the weights on top of it. You're not looking to force it down, you really just want them holding down the edges and maybe one in the center. Put two more sheets of your material across the top now so that drips from the top won't drop on your photo.

Once your rack is ready, start your water running. You want the hottest possible water OUT OF THE TAP. DO NOT USE BOILING WATER!
Put about 1" of water in the bottom of the baker's pan and then place the rack over that water. Be sure not to let the rack fall in the water!

Once that's set, cover the whole thing up and let it sit for four hours.

In four hours, come back, take the top off, remove the rack intact, and empty the water. Refill it with hot tap water again, put the rack back on and let sit for another four hours.

Come back, take the top off, pour out the water and take the top sheets off of your rack. Lay out a dry towel and then place fresh, a dry sheet of your material over the towel. Lay your photo on top of that, place one more sheet of your material over it and then place another towel on top of that. Now you'll need several heavy books to get uniform coverage over it. Let it sit overnight and dry.

The next morning you should have a nicely relaxed and flattened photograph.

PM me if you've got any further questions!

Jon

#12 oldfireguy

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 10:57 AM

Thanks again. I have several so maybe I can try a couple of different methods.

#13 RustyCanteen

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 04:28 PM

Agree 100% with Cobrahistorian.

It's the only way to prevent further damage.

#14 MAW

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 07:17 PM

Humidity is the key....I agree with the others in general.

The way I did it was to take a large bucket and fill it with hot water.....I had a piece of chicken wire cut square, comparable to the circumference of the bucket. I wedge it in the bucket so it creates a platform about 1/4 of the way down the bucket.

Cover it with plastic, like wrap from your kitchen. The humidity builds up and the photo will loosen up.

The only tricks are that you have to make sure water droplets don't collect on the plastic and fall down on the photo....and you have to unroll the photo periodically so that more parts of the photo are exposed to the mositure.

Works like a charm....guaranteed.

#15 RustyCanteen

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 11:26 AM

Someone called me the other day with some yardlongs they wanted to sell: I told him that they are a pain to display :)



What's worse are "yardlongs" that are actually close to 2 yards long! :o

They are awful and most no longer have frames.

Edited by RustyCanteen, 28 February 2011 - 11:27 AM.


#16 Clayton

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 03:49 PM

Gents:

This is the very best discussion of how to handle these troublesome photographs that I have ever encountered. This is why this forum is the very best.

Many thanks for the information,

Clay

#17 Belleauwood

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 11:51 AM

My 2 cents.

Take it to a quality framer that has a print iron/press. They can get it done in minutes with no fuss on your end. If they are not high end photos have them dry matted (acid free) for a few bucks. I do not recommend dry matting for any higher value photo or paper, as that is frowned upon in the art/paper collector world. At any rate it works well for me.

DJ

#18 Belleauwood

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 11:51 AM

My 2 cents.

Take it to a quality framer that has a print iron/press. They can get it done in minutes with no fuss on your end. If they are not high end photos have them dry matted (acid free) for a few bucks. I do not recommend dry matting for any higher value photo or paper, as that is frowned upon in the art/paper collector world. At any rate it works well for me.

DJ

#19 101world

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 04:03 PM

what is dry matting? what do you suggest for high quality expensive things? like old magazines I wish to frame???

not sure what you mean,,,dry matting as opposed to????

I just have the magazine matted on acid and lignen free papaer with UV safe museum quality glass,,,,id that ok??

#20 Belleauwood

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 04:46 PM

what is dry matting? what do you suggest for high quality expensive things? like old magazines I wish to frame???

not sure what you mean,,,dry matting as opposed to????

I just have the magazine matted on acid and lignen free papaer with UV safe museum quality glass,,,,id that ok??



You have done Top Shelf preservation! Best route . Dry matting is mating to the photo/paper document to a rigid backing that eliminates buckling or curling of the object being framed. I almost never have any historical images or documents matted (as a stiffener) and personally do not mind a few wrinkles. I do however add decorative matting to surround the image, etc. to have no direct glass / image, etc. contact.

DJ


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