Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hanging Rod Treatment and Part 2 of our Black Pirate Serial

Once again we are doing a two-fold post. The first part is about an alternative to framing a poster. The second is the continuation, but not the conclusion, of our Black Pirate project.

As most collectors know framing a poster looks good, but it can be expensive. However, framing is not always the best option so Poster Mountain offers our hanging rod treatment which is an inexpensive alternative. We only use this treatment on posters that have been linen backed because the linen provides a flexible base.

Gabe starts out with long sections of half round and square molding that he cuts down to the specific width of the poster.

Pictured: The poster we were putting rods on is an Italian James Bond Poster.

Pictured: Gabe goes by the old adage "measure twice, cut once" so he is double checking the measurements.
 Once he has all the measurements, he starts cutting. Power tools make me nervous, but Gabe is a pro. (Although if anyone has an extra sawhorse that they are not using, we would be happy to put it to use. Gabe has been improvising since ours were drafted into service to create an extra work surface.)

Pictured: Gabe cutting through the molding, while Aaron braces it for him.
After all the individual pieces are cut, Gabe fits the round molding and the square piece together with the top of the poster sandwiched in between. Aaron again helps to brace the wood, while Gabe uses a nail gun to secure the two pieces of wood together to the poster. The nails don't go through the poster itself, we left a large border of linen and paper around the poster specifically so that we wouldn't damage the poster.

Pictured: Gabe positioning the front half of what is about to become a hanging rod.

Pictured: Now the back.

Pictured: Aaron bracing the two pieces so that neither move while Gabe uses a nail gun to secure everything in place.

The last step is to put the hanging brackets on. Since this is a larger piece, Gabe put one on each end to make it easier to hang neatly.

Pictured: Gabe drilling a hole before screwing in the bracket.

Pictured: A small bracket on each end and the poster will hang from two nails or hooks in the wall.

Gabe did the same thing to the bottom of the poster so that it was weighted down enough to hang straight.

Pictured: Gabe and Chelsea demonstrating how it will work.
We would not recommend this treatment for every poster, but for many its a great option. However, if you have small children or animals, this might not be the best option since it does not protect the poster from claws or crayons. For this project, the client wanted a very simple wood, pine, I think, but depending on the available molding options there is a lot of room to customize these hanging rods. We actually just did a cherry stain on the hanging rods for another client that looks very elegant.

So, now that you have an inexpensive option for hanging posters, on to part 2 which is the continuation of our Black Pirate project!

We left off with our poster in a multitude pieces after having been removed from layers of adhesive, cheese cloth and a wood board. (Here is a quick link back to the last Black Pirate blog: http://postermountain.blogspot.com/2012/01/couple-of-crates-and-beginnings-of.html)

A lot of the pieces we were not salvageable. They were just too small or too damaged, but the pieces we were able to save were temporarily mounted to a sheet of hollytex. The larger pieces were put to the side while Lindsay and John worked to turn the small puzzle pieces into bigger puzzle pieces.

Pictured: The border and words were not mounted to hollytex because where they went was pretty obvious. They were pieced in later. 

Pictured: The interior of the poster was in the worst shape, so this was the part that was temporarily mounted to hollytex.

Once these pieces that were mounted had dried, they were cut free and the process of putting it back together as a whole began. The hollytex was trimmed close to the edges of the pieces and then once Lindsay was sure of where they were supposed to go we taped them together. (Yes, I know. We have on several occasions mentioned how bad tape is. But in this instance it was a necessary evil because we needed something to hold the pieces together during the mounting process.)  The tape was on the hollytex and never came into contact with the poster itself, so once again: don't put tape on your posters or pieces of art! Anyway...

Pictured: The pieces that were mounted on hollytex were not in the right places, so they were cut down to make it easier to get the spacing correct.

Pictured: Lindsay trimming away some of the hollytex.

Pictured: Lindsay prepping the pieces to be temporarily mounted face down by taping them into position.

They were still attached to a hollytex at this point, so they were mounted face down. This allowed us to put everything together in such a way that we would be able to then remove the hollytex from the back and then remount the poster onto masa and linen. Now, how we actually did this is a Poster Mountain secret. It does involve our isinglass technique, but all we'll show you is the beginning. You get to imagine the rest.

Pictured: Lindsay wetting down the poster. This is why the tape was necessary, so that the pieces would stay together on the slippery surface of the table.

Pictured: The poster mounted face down. The tape was then removed.

Now, I'm adding a "but" here because the early photos of the project were only for our records. Then the project was put on hold for several months. During that time Chelsea and I came on board and the blog was started. Black Pirate went through prep and had paper added to the areas that were missing, which was a lot. Antonia put in paper patches, but it was still lacking chunks of the image. Katie began to sketch in the areas that were missing using water colors. This is where the "but" comes into play. At the time that we began to work on Black Pirate again, we weren't doing a blog. So we are don't have photos of the prep work and the beginning of restoration. But this project is cool enough that we decided to use it anyway. Take my word for it that watching Katie fill in the missing sections was amazing. I would look up every couple of minutes and there was something new. So, we are leaving you with one final image. This was taken after Katie had filled in the background and Aaron had airbrushed the black.

Pictured: A progress photo of Black Pirate.

Its a pretty amazing transformation thus far, but its not finished yet! You'll have to check back over the next couple of weeks to see the conclusion of this project!

It should be noted that several crucial steps in our process have been omitted. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us via email at postermount@aol.com or by phone at 818.882.1214. Also check out our websites: http://www.postermountain.com and http://www.lapapergroup.com/. Please feel free to leave comments or questions on the blog!


  1. That's amazing!

    How do you determine when it's worth the cost of restoration? On this project you've essentially had to recreate, beautifully I might add, the poster using the scraps of what was left. Do you believe that the value after restoration has justified the cost of restoration?

    Edward Howard

    1. This particular poster was purchased by the client from a church yard sale for $25! In good condition it would be worth about $40,000. This one will obviously never be worth that amount, but it does allow this collector to own this poster at an affordable price. The restoration cost will be about $5000 and he intends to keep it forever. As I write this, the restoration is still weeks away from completion.

  2. Those are some big numbers for posters. Great job with the restoration and doing this type of work is tough and a person must really love the pieces that they work on. It must be hard to let a poster that you love and work on go. I do enjoy the older style of posters and would put something like this up on Cable displays and make it a conversation piece.