Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Magnets & Works on Paper

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    2

    Magnets & Works on Paper

    Hello all—

    This is my first post here on PACCIN though I've been using this forum as a resource for quite some time now. Hope this is the right place for this post—

    Just wondering if anyone has experience working closely with magnets and works on paper. I'm searching for a general consensus about what should be taken into consideration when securing flat work to a surface using magnets—for example, to assist in keeping work relatively flat for accurate focus during digitization.

    I know that, at times, when installing textiles, for example, that are to be exhibited without frames magnets can be used in combination with a variety of buffers between a magnetic(steel) surface, the textile, and the magnet. I presume a method such as this could be translated into digitization practices? My next concern would be that any even-close-to friable media would be in danger of damage if the magnets are too strong. Rare earth / neodymium magnets are what I've used while installing work for exhibitions in the past. Has anyone had luck with other types? Rubber coating might be helpful for digitization purposes (i.e. create a buffer and deter specular highlights/reflections), though I would be concerned about rubber residue scuffing / migrating onto the work.

    If anyone has any thoughts, comments, or concerns to share regarding magnets and material handling I would appreciate it. Or, if anyone implements this type of practice in their collection digitization workflow I'd love to hear about alternative methods.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member JasonO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Posts
    172
    For most digitization rare earth magnets would be unnecessary; you don't need to hold the object vertically for 6 weeks, just keep it flat. We use strips of plain ol' refrigerator magnet. The strips can be cut to any length, they're black, and they are thin so they don't cause any shadows. We also use a vacuum easel for works that are in good enough condition (http://www.ttind.com/vacuumoverview.html). These can be used in conjunction with magnets too.

    For 2-D works (except those already framed) we try to shoot on a copy stand as much as possible. Say something like this if you already have lights (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...opy_Stand.html). Just laying flat can help keep stuff from buckling.

    If you have oversize works on paper we'll occasionally use a slant board made of thick foamcore. Essentially you prop the board at 45 degrees or more and use t-pins to hold the work down (not through the work, but have one "arm" of the t-pin hold it down). You have the board at a slant so you don't have to have the camera directly above the work, but rather on a ladder shooting down at the same angle. You could use magnets too (just hammer a large headed nail into the foamcore or tape another magnet to the foamcore).

    For all magnets we use archival tissue, paper or matboard between them and the work. The thickness depends on how strong you need the magnet to be. A thick piece of matboard can help with those strong rare-earth magnets.For most digitization rare earth magnets would be unnecessary; you don't need to hold the object vertically for 6 weeks, just keep it flat. We use strips of plain ol' refrigerator magnets. The strips can be cut to any length, they're black, and they are thin so they don't cause any shadows. We also use a vacuum easel for works that are in good enough condition (http://www.ttind.com/vacuumoverview.html). These can be used in conjunction with magnets too.

    For 2-D works (except those already framed) we try to shoot on a copy stand as much as possible. Say something like this if you already have lights (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...opy_Stand.html).

    If you have oversize works on paper we'll occasionally use a slant board made of thick foamcore. Essentially you prop the board at 45 degrees or more and use t-pins to hold the work down (not through the work, but have one "arm" of the t-pin hold it down). You have the board at a slant so you don't have to have the camera directly above the work, but rather on a ladder shooting down at the same angle. You could use magnets too (just hammer a large headed nail into the foamcore or tape another magnet to the foamcore).

    For all magnets we use archival tissue, paper or matboard between them and the work. The thickness depends on how strong you need the magnet to be. A thick piece of matboard can help with those strong rare-earth magnets.
    --
    Jason Onerheim
    Collections Associate - Collections Management
    Minnesota Historical Society

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    8
    Rare earth magnets are regularly used for installing works on paper and textiles for digital imaging. As the prior poster said, anything that can be imaged flat on a surface should be.

    For pieces that are larger we use a magnet board. We use a 4'x6' one on a wheeled stand that can swivel horizontal and lock for placing artworks before applying magnets. Also, an 8' x 5' board (aluminum core with a powdercoated steel surface) that is mounted on a large easel at approximately a 75 degree angle. The steep angle of the large easel mounted board allows the camera the distance and height to get the entire 8' if needed.. The large magnet board also doubles as a slant board on which to place matted works which are securely matted (hinged) and can be safely placed at a near vertical for imaging. We attach a piece of 1/2" foamcore with embedded magnets (1/4"x1"x2", really painful to get fingers pinched) at the bottom of the magnet board for this. Using the magnet board as a slant allows stronger magnets to be used to secure the backing board and the window of the mat.
    Depending on the type of 2D work being installed, we will use buffers such as tyvek, photo-tex, .03mil mylar, blotter paper, or other materials requested by conservation. Please keep in mind that the stronger the magnet, the more likely it can damage the surface (emboss, tear, etc) of the art. The reduction in friction from buffers is something that must be considered as well. For more permanent buffer, I have tried tyvek tape, but the adhesive slips. Same with a few other archival tapes..I also tried heat shrink plastic tubing, but that didn't worked and I ended up just burning my fingers... If anyone comes up with a good permanent buffer please share.

    We typically use round disc magnets from approximately 1/8"x1/4"x1/4" to 3/16"x 5/8"x5/8" are used to secure artworks around the perimeter with smaller magnets such as 1/32"x1/16"x1/16" used to help minimize any buckling and hold down isolated areas such as torn edges. Really thin magnets break quite easily. You will need to watch for bits of magnet and iron filings which can leave marks. I try to use the least amount of magnets to minimize any potential damage, yet still enough to feel the artwork is secure. I would rather use a couple dozen very small magnets instead of 4 stronger ones if the piece is very fragile. Sometimes up to 40 or 50 magnets will be used such as when installing silk which requires the weave and weft to be kept "square".



    Another small stack of magnets can be used for removal by holding the attractant end directly above and magnetism will do its thing. This can help avoid dragging magnets across the surface. Also, the use of many smaller magnets may be preferable if post-editing by the photographer is needed to avoid showing the magnets.

    We do have a few methods for using magnets on walls, but we tend to avoid this for all but the largest pieces.

  4. #4
    Member Jamie Hascall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    60
    I'd recommend you check out Conservator Gwen Spicer's presentation on magnets at the recent Mountmaking Forum in Cleveland. It has a lot of great information on magnets and their use and may give some food for thought. I wasn't able to isolate the url for the talk, but you'll find it on this page of al the talks. http://www.mountmakersforumcleveland.com/videos

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    8
    thanks for the link. It's good to have the science to explain why some things I've tried work better than others.
    much appreciated.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    2
    Jason, Paul, and Jamie—

    Thank you so much for your input and expertise. Since we are already doing our digitization on an anodized steel tabletop (which slides in and out of the repro stand base), the info provided on buffer materials will be of tremendous help.

    Paul, I'm with you in that more smaller magnets are safer than fewer larger magnets. I have some neodymium magnets measuring Ø 1/8" x 1/8" H. This is quite small, but they are strong without being too strong given their size. The low profile allows for less interference with imaging lights, and is less likely to create shadows. I've also found that stacking about 6-8 on top of each other creates a great vehicle for picking up the individual magnets up with minimal effort. I'm thinking about trying to adhere buffers of Tyvek, mylar, or photo-tex to the bottom of the magnets. Presumably different buffers would be used for different media types.

    Jamie, thanks for the link to Gwen Spicer's presentation at IMF. Definitely looking forward to watching it.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    8
    If any success with adhering buffer, please share.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •