Author Topic: Flattening a warped hard backed photo?  (Read 462 times)

Offline Deer243

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Flattening a warped hard backed photo?
« on: Thursday 28 December 17 10:50 GMT (UK) »
I have an old hard backed photo from circa 1914 which has warped quite badly and woul;d be interested to get some tips on how to flatten it. I am inclined to use some heavy books on top but am worried that this might just crack or break to hard backing?
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Offline jim1

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Re: Flattening a warped hard backed photo?
« Reply #1 on: Friday 29 December 17 17:06 GMT (UK) »
It's possible but you would need to take it to a picture conservator which wouldn't be cheap.
Try & get a decent photo of it, in daylight without flash. We might be able to correct the distortion digitally.
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Offline dobfarm

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Re: Flattening a warped hard backed photo?
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 30 December 17 00:50 GMT (UK) »
Its slightly risky dampening or do it dry! you could try lightly damp soak the arch back of the hard back and gradually add weight just enough to bend it back say 1/8th of the arch bend height and leave it to dry out week . If it holds the closed distance- repeat with slightly more weight while dampened the arch back to go for a 1/4  till dried out -then 1/2 of original height of arch and keep repeating till its flat again.
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Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: Flattening a warped hard backed photo?
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 30 December 17 09:14 GMT (UK) »
I have an old hard backed photo from circa 1914 which has warped quite badly and woul;d be interested to get some tips on how to flatten it. I am inclined to use some heavy books on top but am worried that this might just crack or break to hard backing?

Unfortunately you do not give us much to go on about the photo, is it clean (also size, thickness, amount of warping, etc.).
Note if the photo or the back it dirty or stained adding moisture could spread the staining or introduce further marking.
If it is only slight warping on a large photo simply placing it with the arch uppermost will gently remove the warping.
If the warping is pronounced the best method is to very lightly moisten the photo and apply a slight pressure on the arch using a book press (a book press allows controlled pressure to be applied without forcing the photo flat, the same effect may be applied by using papers or a light magazine not heavy enough to flatten the photo). This may have to repeated over a number of days to remove the warping completely.
The idea is to put only enough pressure on to relax the warping rather than trying to force the photo flat which could easily crack the photo.

Note it is better to use light pressure over longer time than heavy pressure for a short period.

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Offline Handypandy

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Re: Flattening a warped hard backed photo?
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 30 December 17 15:19 GMT (UK) »
Humidity, not water per se, is the key. A large plastic box with a lid, like a storage box. Place a damp tea towel, or similar (wetted and wrung out) in the base. Place the photo on something in the box so that it doesn't come into contact with the damp cloth. Put the lid on and leave it at room temperature for 4-5 hours. Don't be tempted to leave it longer as mould can form on photo emulsion very quickly.

This should be enough to relax the emulsion. Place on a flat surface and cover with a sheet of acid free tissue paper (try Amazon), a sheet of glass over the tissue is best, but  anything flat and without a pattern should suffice, then a small weight like a book. Leave it a couple of days and repeat if necessary.

Offline Deer243

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Re: Flattening a warped hard backed photo?
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 31 December 17 18:01 GMT (UK) »
Apologies for the slow reply but thank you very much for all the advice, I will try the DIY approach since although warped the problem is not so severe that I feel I could justify paying a professional.
Dillon (Manchester, originally Ireland)
Duggan (Manchester, originally Ireland)
Marley (Manchester, originally Ireland)
Hogan (Tullamore, County Offaly, Ireland)
Reekie (Fife)
Elston (Brecon, Birmingham, Dorset, Devon)
Pearsall (Birmingham)
Kinninmonth (Fife)
Kinnaird (Fife)