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Thread: Cleat Material for Exhibit Panels

  1. #1

    Cleat Material for Exhibit Panels

    We are in the throes of designing a traveling exhibit, and would like to put cleats on the backs of the text panels, the object labels, and on some of the panels on which objects are mounted. I'm thinking Sintra cleats would stand up well to repeated use, but we'll probably have to make them ourselves out of scrap material since our budget is small. So, my questions are, is Sintra a good choice for cleats; if not, what would you recommend that we can cut ourselves; and if it is Sintra, what kind of blade should we have on our table saw to keep from melting the stuff? Would Gatorfoam be a viable alternative?
    Thank you,

  2. #2
    PACCIN Advisory Committee Member T. Ashley McGrew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    Hi Anne,
    I've certainly seen Sintra used successfully for cleats. Of course folks also commonly use Solid wood - nice and light but sometimes inclined to warp, crown or twist, Plywood - tends to stay straighter but can still cup and is much heavier, MDF - straighter yet but even heavier and likely to crumble.
    For something thinner but similar but with the same drawbacks and also kind of difficult to adhere firmly to panel some folks use Masonite (yuk). Also thinner materials for text panels can include acrylic cleats (often used on acrylic panels).
    I would be reluctant to use gator board because of its lack of durability if used for many venues or especially to support actual artwork. A common approach is to use cleat material that basically matches what the panel is made of.
    In terms of cutting Sintra one of it advantages is that it cuts like wood. Have you had it melt when cutting it before? I never have seen that before personally and I have cut a lot of Sintra! Especially for Art, would stick to wood, ply or Sintra. I gather since you didn't mention it and because you are on a budget you aren't considering metal -bars.
    Put the question out on the list and you will probably get a lot more responses
    T. Ashley McGrew
    PACCIN Advisory Committee member

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