Mountboard : An important element in the picture framing process

About mountboard : its role & quality levels

Mountboard is an important element in the framing process, and it comes in a wide range of quality, colours and thicknesses. Conservation framing guidelines require a mount to meet a defined quality standard. There are several kinds of mountboard available for use depending on requirements:

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    Level 1: 100% Cotton (Museum) Mountboard

    100% cotton board is traditionally accepted as being Museum standard board. It has no inherent acid present, and so is the only true acid free mountboard. We take great care to source 100% cotton board which contains no post consumer waste and no optical brightening agents. Our 100% cotton boards all pass the Photographic Activity Test, and some are available unbuffered for particularly sensitive photographic items.

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    Level 2: (Alpha cellulose) Mountboard

    Alpha cellulose board (commonly termed Conservation Board) is often referred to as being ‘Acid free board’. It isn’t. However, the removal of lignin in the manufacturing process means it is accepted by paper conservators as being safe for conservation framing. The Level 2 mountboards we use are sourced from manufacturers who have committed to the Fine Art Trade Guild mountboard standards. This ensures a high level of passive protection for your artwork.

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    Level 3: (White core) Mountboard

    Level 3 mountboard is also often referred to as being acid free mountboard, which is not true. It may also contain Optical Brightening Agents (OBA’s) which are not allowed in Level 2 or Level 1 boards. The surface paper is less lightfast than level 2 or Level 1 board.

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    Level 4: Cream Core mountboard

    Level 4 (Cream Core) mountboard is the cheapest board available, and is used mainly by production framers who are working to a price, but who don’t claim to be working to any particular standard. There are no rules about how it’s made, what it’s made from and what protection it should offer. However, because of the price it is the board of choice for some bespoke framers. You won’t find it in our workshop though!