Flattening vintage chart
December 21, 2008 7:35 PM   Subscribe

I have a large vintage (1920s era) anatomical chart hanging in my bedroom. The edges have been gradually curling under. Anybody have ideas how to flatten it without doing any damage?
posted by Zebtron to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
Get it framed. Add some space around each edge. A good frame shop should be able to deal with the added width. If there's wooden top/bottom rails, perhaps some (acid-free or -absorbing) batting could be put underneath it. Also: UV glass.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 8:11 PM on December 21, 2008

I would frame it.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:28 PM on December 21, 2008

If you don't want to go with a whole frame, just get it dry mounted on gatorboard. You might get a better price from a "blueprint shop" rather than a framer. Look for someone who does large format copies and prints.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 8:55 PM on December 21, 2008

If you don't want to frame then you could mount it, but you'll need one or the other. Foamcore mounting board + suitable glue (what glue would be best?).
posted by airplain at 8:59 PM on December 21, 2008

Archival mounting from a reputable frame shop is your best bet, if you've the money.

If you want it to stay pristine, don't use glue.

The simplest (& cheapest) thing to do is get a matte cut from acid-free, archival matte board, get a backing piece cut to the full outside dimensions of the matte from the same board (or better), and put it all in a ready-made frame.

Here's a good primer on preservation matting & framing, which may be more info than you need.
posted by batmonkey at 10:28 PM on December 21, 2008

If you value the chart at all, do not dry-mount it. Follow batmonkey's advice to get it mounted, after which you can either hang it that way, or another cheap framing option would be to get a piece of plexiglas large enough to cover the matte, using any kind of clips to keep it all together.
posted by rhizome at 11:18 PM on December 21, 2008

Assuming it is paper, then you can do something as simple as reinforce the edges. This will actually help to keep the brittle edges from tearing as well. I have a brittle old poster that I did this too and it works perfectly. Buy something called "acid-free linen tape" from some place like Light Impressions. Then use it to singly or doubly reinforce the back of the poster on the edges.

Most likely the chart is life-sized which may mean mounting and framing can be prohibitively expensive even if you do it yourself. Hanging it is fine but you may want to see if there are humidity issues which are causing it to suddenly curl.
posted by JJ86 at 6:20 AM on December 22, 2008

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