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Attaching canvas to aluminum, a substrate experiment.

SummerSummer -
edited October 2017 in Painting

Very soon I begin experimenting with a new idea for what I hope to be the ideal substrate for oil painting and therefore a keeper in my studio. I’m keeping the old world rabbit skin glue (because acrylic doesn’t allow for the same subtleties); linen canvas; oil primer, and ditching everything that is exposed to the elements from the rear that is flexible and wooden.  Can you see anything wrong with this picture before I get started? Do you have any questions?


Several  22 x 28 aluminum AlumaComp sheets will be prepared and a canvas will be attached to each one.

I will clean the brushed surface with alcohol.

I will soak the canvas in rabbit skin glue, paint a layer of RSG onto the brushed side of the aluminum, wring canvas dry, apply wet canvas to wet aluminum surface.  But first, I will cook RSG only once in a double boiler and not bring it to a boil.  This sizing recipe keeps the oil in the primer and oil paints from rotting the canvas.

I will smooth canvas to aluminum with a brayer and fingers, clean up excess, and allow to dry under compression. 

Finally, I will add an oil primer and let that dry--about a week-and-a-half per application.  I will add oil paint to tone the last layer of primer with a 'Carder Brown.'

It’s ready to paint with Geneva paints now.

In 6 months, I will apply a removable glossy varnish to the finished painting.



P.S.  I am also going to compare my custom made aluminum substrate with two aluminum products sold with linen already attached.

BOB73
«1

Comments

  • dencaldencal -
    edited September 2017
    Summer

    Sounds good to me.

    I'm sure there must be something better than RSG, which remains hygroscopic.
    I know it is all sealed up but for archival measures RSG is a risk factor.

    Here is a relevant quote from Wikipedia

    Rabbit skin glue is considered to be a major cause of cracking in oil paintings by most modern conservators. Because the glue is hygroscopic, it continually absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, causing the glue to swell and shrink as ambient humidity levels change. Over many humidity cycles, this repeated flexing causes the brittle oil paint to crack. Modern substitutes for rabbit skin glue are available, such as Gamblin’s PVA size [2] and Golden Acrylics’ GAC100. These substitutes do not have the hygroscopic properties of rabbit skin glue, while still being very slightly hygroscopic, and should not cause the damage to oil paints that rabbit skin glue does. However, these modern replacements do not stiffen and tighten the canvas as well as rabbit skin glue does, so some artists still prefer to use rabbit skin glue.

    I assume the finished work will be framed and thus not needing any cradling?

    Denis



    BOB73
  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017
    @dencal ; Thanks Denis, I was hoping to get your opinion.  :)   Firstly, I read that same information, a while back, and that is the reason I decided not to stretch canvas in the future using RSG.  And, I won't.  I've also read that the RSG begins to crack at 30 years in some climates.  I love painting on RSG and Claessens linen and want to incorporate that part into my new substrate method so I have to find a way to enclose RSG which I thought I had with aluminum to the back and oil primer, oil paints, and varnish to the front.  But you think not?  Hmm.  What to do?  We are entering our dry season here, and I plan to prepare these particular substrates during this season.  So you think the sealing of the RSG will not be adequately sealed?  I will consider that.  Some literature from AlumaComp advises that oil-based products are best for use on their aluminum but acrylic can be used as well.  They allow glues like RSG, oil primers, and oil paints.  And, yes, these will be framed.  I will give the RSG more thought and look for a substitute.  Thanks for your input.  Please comment further if something else comes to mind.  Summer     
    BOB73
  • Summer

    • Choose a priming/ground material carefully. Priming/ground materials that are available in industry may be acceptable if they have been found to be compatible with certain ACM brands (Example: DTM Bonding Primer by Sherwin Williams has been found to be highly compatible with Dibond panels). As with most industry products, artists are encouraged to test these materials with their preferred painting technique. 


    Denis




    Summer
  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017
    @dencal ;   Thanks Denis for the additional and linked information.  Lots more to consider.  I will update this post after I perform a few more tests.  I know for sure which materials that I want to continue using after having experimented with them these past several years.  Summer 
  • Summer

    A couple of "out there" products you may want to consider is epoxy primers or etching primers.
    These are designed as primers for bare metal car bodies. Pretty heavy solvents, but they stick like glue to shiny hard surfaces. Rustoleum is one brand but I suspect there are many more.


    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rust-Oleum-Automotive-12-oz-Self-Etching-Primer-Spray-Paint-249322/202097278

    Denis



    Summer
  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017
    I'm committed to making this work and my husband is preparing a work space.  It will be another year before final results are in.  I'm hoping that the outcome will be worthy of a 'body of work'.  I can feel it in my bones--haha.  Summer
  • What materials are you planning on using or testing?
  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017
    @Richard_P ; My first idea is to try and use the same materials that I have grown fond of over the past few years, but testing them on a base that is more durable than canvas and/or wood.  The materials are Claessens #13 raw linen, rabbit skin glue, Zinsser oil primer, Geneva paints, alkali-refined linseed oil for touch-ups, and finally Winsor & Newton removable varnish on AlumaComp sheets.  There are three areas I will be watchful for: 1) It is critical that the glue remain sticky and this will require the use of a thermometer, 2) Denis's concern about the glue being affected by atmospheric conditions under the Geneva paint and final layer of varnish, and 3) will the surface of the canvas be as nice to paint on attached to the aluminum as it was on stretched canvas, or on hardboard.  If not, I will try and replace RSG as Denis suggests.  If you have any suggestions or concerns, I'd like to hear them.  I know that I could paint directly on the aluminum with just an acrylic or oil-based primer, but I'm trying to continue painting on canvas with my familiar ingredients, but on an aluminum sheet.  Thanks for asking this question.  I will post results.   :)  Summer   
  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017
    I may end up painting on AlumaComp or Dibond aluminum directly - after priming - if I can't get the raw linen canvas to glue and prime properly to archival standards.  Then there are the ready-mades from Jerry's.  Just considering my options.

  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017
    I just want to point out that there is a certain beauty that occurs when RSG pairs with Claessens #13 raw linen that is obliterated when acrylic products are used--even more obliteration occurs after more coats of acrylic primer are put on after that.  That is why I'm hoping the RSG will work in this experiment with Claessens #13 raw canvas.  These things are subtle, but they are there.   

     
            
            

  • Summer

    Something for the research file - shellac and China clay on Dibond - really?

    Denis


    BOB73Summer
  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017
    @dencal ; Denis, thanks for this read.  Interesting.  I came away thinking that China clay/kaolin is used in so many industries you wouldn't expect, why not on Dibond with shellac--haha.  I'd like to have a tour of the framers and see this work up-close at the Annan gallery in Glasgow.  Coincidentally, there is a castle there which is on my bucket list to see.  And, my husband and I were making tentative travel plans a few weeks ago that got delayed--again.  It appears Scott got what he was after, smooooth.  I'm hoping for more tooth, and obviously so.  My fear is that painting on stretched canvas vs. aluminum substrates have equal sets of problems, but they are just different.  Your concerns may be different from these?  Summer 
    dencal
  • Painting on aluminum supports. "The direct application is fine so long as you handle with care and varnish at the end. I was finding the slightest scrape would take a layer of paint clean off. the absorbency of the gesso ensures the oil paint beds in" is a quote from Scott Naismith from the above article but this was in the blog comments section. @Paulb, take note. @Summer too. He also recommends a finish coating of two-part resin on a painting that will be displayed outdoors. Any thoughts on that?
    Summerdencal
  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017
    Good observation @BOB73.  I will have to consider if this will be necessary in my case.  If the resin is necessary, just a precaution or something that will just make me feel better.  Right now, I'm only considering glossy varnish.  Summer
    BOB73
  • Summer

    Thinking you might get some tooth from clear gesso. Recommended by/for pastellists.

    Denis

    Summer
  • dencal said:
    Summer

    Thinking you might get some tooth from clear gesso. Recommended by/for pastellists.

    Denis

    Yes.  I have used it in the past.  Like the stuff.  Even have some on hand in the studio now.  Summer
    dencal
  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017
    Folks,  Especially @dencal, @BOB73,  and @PaulB ; To understand how my experiment is fairing, I am going to purchase sample sizes of AlumaComp aluminum sheets already covered with Claessens #13 from Jerry's Artarama.  I haven't found any Dibond that is canvas covered, just the AlumaComp.  And the other thing I noticed is that they look very promising for plein air painting.  The way Paul has prepared the Dibond aluminum on his current project, Cinque Terre, would be what I would recommend to prepare these small plein air Dibond or AlumaComp substrates.  Summer
    dencalBOB73
  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017

    Update: I examined linen-covered aluminum panels from Jerry’s Artarama and had to send them back for a refund. Blisters had formed in the fabric.  They weren’t immediately noticeable when looking at the panel straight on, but shine a flashlight from the side and you can see dozens of them. It appeared that they didn't even out the glue with a roller after applying the glue from a tube to the aluminum before applying the canvas.  Some of the squiggles of glue from the tube were perfectly intact and stretched the linen with the same design.  I will have to be careful not to do this with my rabbit skin glue when I attach the linen and wait for it to dry.  Everything else about these linen-covered aluminum panels was perfect.   I’m going to order a panel from Natural Pigments and update this research thread with the results when I receive and examine that order.  Summer

    Here is the advertisement for the panels I had to return to Jerry’s Artarama: “New York Central Professional Canvas Art Panels on AlumaComp Archival, Museum Quality Professional Canvas Panels! AlumaComp Aluminum Panels Hand Mounted with 8 Professional Surfaces.

    Thought about making your own linen panels, but could use that valuable time painting instead of prepping? New York Central has heard you and has taken the beauty and luxury of Europe’s finest Linens and Poly Cottons, and professionally mounted them on AlumaComp Aluminum Panels for your convenience! Using Lineco Neutral pH Adhesive (acid-free, museum-quality formula designed specifically for preservation materials), our skilled craftsmen hand-mount Raphael Linen, Claessens oil and universal primed linens, and quality painting panels unlike anything on the market. Perfect for oils, alkyds, acrylics, egg tempera, and caseins!

    Hand mounted to: 100% archival 4 mm (3/16”) thick acid-free aluminum boards.

    AlumaComp’s unique composition of two aluminum sides with a 1/8” polyethylene core makes them lightweight, archival, dimensionally stable and strong. Panels will never rot and are not affected by weather humidity changes or temperature fluctuations, even in transport. The light weight and slim profile is ideal for shipping, stocking pochade boxes, plein air painting, and for studio use.

    Remove the protective film from the coated side slowly and carefully to avoid static build-up."


    Weatherforddencal
  • Great information. Thanks @Summer
    Summer
  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017
    More videos about working on aluminum directly without adding canvas--just Dibond in this post:








    PaulBdencal
  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017
    Canvas covered aluminum substrates from Natural Pigments will arrive tomorrow.  Can hardly wait to report what I discover.
  • Don't forget to try out plastics too.. ;)
    Summer
  • Richard_P said:
    Don't forget to try out plastics too.. ;)
    Actually, that is a good idea.  I think I'll begin with a parody of Munk's  "The Scream"--haha.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017
    Another Update:  Well, the linen covered aluminum substrate arrived from Natural Pigments damaged.  There was a nick in the surface that was deep enough to render it unusable.  It is a beautiful looking product and I'm impressed with the quality of construction, but not enough to give up on my experiment attaching linen with rabbit skin glue and adding an oil primer.  Available sizes aren't many, but customized orders on their website makes this more appealing to me.  They also have a chart where they advise you which panel to order for whatever medium you are using or surface you require.  For instance oil and alkyd, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, egg tempera, casein, encaustic, ink and silverpoint, very absorbent, semi-absorbent, non-absorbent, smooth, semi-smooth, and textured.   

    The brand name is "Artefex" and I purchased the 8 x 10 (20.3 x 25.4) allinpanel with 2 coats of lead white oil-primed extra fine linen canvas 533, 3mm ACM panel.  It is a professional panel for oil painting with 100% linen canvas lead oil primed and adhered with BEVA 371 consisting of two aluminum sheets laminated to both sides of a black polyethylene core.  There is a health and safety warning about the lead carbonate.

    Canvas 100% extra fine linen
    Warp/Weft Yarn: NM18/NM18
    Warp/Weft Yarn Count: 17/CM/17/CM
    Unprimed weight: 220 g/m2
    Primed weight: 361 g/m2

    Definition of ACM: Aluminum Composite Material, commonly known as ACM panels, consists of two thin sheets of aluminum continuously bonded to a polyethylene core.

    Details

    Artefex ACM Panels are lightweight but rigid and durable aluminum composite material (ACM)—two strong sheets of aluminum bonded to a solid polyethylene core. The panel is prepared with canvas mounted on one-side and a mill (polished aluminum) finish on the other side. The panels are custom fabricated in inch increments from 6 to 24 inches. This weather-resistant panel is ideal for a wide range of paint mediums.

    • Suitable for oil or acrylic paint (depending upon priming)
    • 3mm thick aluminum composite panel
    • 100% linen or cotton/polyester canvas
    • Available in medium, fine and extra-fine weave canvas
    • Available with either titanium white oil or acrylic priming
    • Canvas adhered with BEVA 371®—an adhesive used in conservation to mount canvas

    Compared to wood panels Artefex ACM panels offer a superior support for painting and mounting because ACM panels are virtually unaffected by environmental changes, such as relative humidity (RH) and temperature. This is a professional panel for oil and acrylic painting.

    Note: The online store may not accurately calculate the shipping cost for panels larger than 18 by 18 inches. Please call to confirm the actual shipping rate for large panels.

    To order a custom Artefex ACM panel:

    1. Select the height dimension from 6 to 24 inches in one inch increments.

    2. Select the width dimension from 6 to 24 inches in one inch increments.

    3. Choose from one of eight canvas surfaces:

    • 100% Linen, Medium Weave, Oil-Primed
    • 100% Linen, Fine Weave, Oil-Primed
    • 100% Linen, Extra-Fine Weave, Oil-Primed
    • 100% Linen, Fine Weave, Acrylic-Primed
    • 100% Linen, Extra-Fine Weave, Acrylic-Primed
    • Cotton/Polyester, Medium Weave, Acrylic-Primed
    • Cotton/Polyester, Fine Weave, Acrylic-Primed
    • Cotton/Polyester, Extra-Fine Weave, Acrylic-Primed

    Note: For panels up to 18 inches there is a dimensional tolerance of plus or minus 0.0625 inch (1/16") in any dimension. The dimensional tolerance for panels larger than 18 inches is 0.125 inch (1/8") in any dimension. 

    Note: Artefex GridPanels  are available in larger sizes 24 x 24 to 48 x 48 that are 6 mm thick with a corrugated high-density polypropylene core that is guaranteed not to swell, corrode, rot, or delaminate even under prolonged water exposure.

    More Details

    The panel is coated on one side with a white polyester coil coating finish and a mill (polished aluminum) finish on the other side.  Artefex ACM panels offer a superior support for painting and mounting compared to wood panels because ACM panels have very low response to environmental changes, such as relative humidity (RH) and temperature. This is a professional panel for painting when primed with acrylic, alkyd or oil-based primers or for mounting canvas and paper.

    Preparing the Panel for Mounting and Painting

    Note: Use only the coated side of the panel for painting and mounting.

    • Remove the protective film from the coated side slowly and carefully to avoid static build-up.

    • Pre-clean the panel surface with ethyl or isopropyl alcohol, using non-colored cloth for best results. It is important not to use solvents, soaps or liquid cleaning materials as they may leave a film residue that can affect adhesion. Additionally, cleaners containing silicone can interfere with adhesion and are not recommended. A 70% solution of isopropyl alcohol is recommended as the only cleaning material.

    • Scuff the surface with abrasive paper, preferably using a grain size of 360 grit. Do not grind through the coating to the aluminum metal.

    • Remove dust with a lint-free cloth moistened with ethyl or isopropyl alcohol.

    • For coating and mounting, please follow the instructions of the coating or the adhesive manufacturer.

    Hints for Better Mounting and Painting Results

    • Acclimate the panel to room temperature prior to use—especially when the panel has been stored at low temperature.

    • Avoid fluctuating humidity or environments that are too dry—this can lead to static build-up.

    • Do not touch panel surfaces with bare hands and do not allow any liquid cleaning materials or solvents (except ethyl or isopropyl alcohol) to dry on the panel surface.

    • If the panel has a protective film, this should be removed slowly and carefully to avoid static build-up.

    • For best results, sweep the panel surface with ionized air prior to painting or mounting and consistently apply measures to reduce static build-up.

    • Do not subject the panel to heat exceeding a maximum of 80° C (175° F).


    Thanks for looking.  Suggestions welcome.  Would love to learn of your own experiences with this product. 

    Summer   

      




    PaulB
  • @summer, fill the void, start a factory. lol
    Summer
  • Status:  Review of two commercial products completed.  Results: 1) I was unable to customize product to my liking.  2) Both products were damaged in shipping.  Moving forward as of this writing, I will begin cutting and prepping my own aluminum panels to size and painting on them with just an oil ground while the linen and rabbit skin glue experiment continues over the next year.  Summer
    dencal
  • Thank you @Summer.  This thread is particularly interesting to me, because I am really enjoying using aluminum panels, and obviously have lots to learn.  Please keep going...
    Summer
  • SummerSummer -
    edited October 2017
    @dencal; @PaulB; @movealonghome ; Another update:

    As you know, I'm experimenting with trying to get rabbit skin glue and my favorite Claessens 13 linen to stick to aluminum.  Well, I came across this today, and even a member of ours, @garrykravit, has posted a few words so don't miss it.  These people are as keen as I am to getting linen to stick to aluminum efficiently and cheaply.  You might find this interesting.  Here is the link:

    http://paintingstufftolooklikestuff.blogspot.com/2013/04/panels-that-will-blow-your-face-off.html

    A Rustoleum primer is what I will be using in the meantime.

    Summer

    Glue: a roll of Beva 2.5mm film
    mounting press
    Claessens 13 linen
    aluminum
    Forgiveness
  • So you now need to find room for a mounting press too! 
  • Richard_P said:
    So you now need to find room for a mounting press too! 
    I'm going to try the methods I have already begun first.  It's interesting to see the options open to me in the future.  Yes, this is one of them and I will have to find room somewhere--maybe enclose portions of the patio.  Several people whose work I admire have switched to aluminum.  It will be interesting to see if Mark Carder tries it. 

    Summer
  • Mounting press, used to have one and used it frequently at a picture framing store I used to work at, these things are great, have choice of acid free mounting or regular.
    Summer
  • SummerSummer -
    edited October 2017
    Update:  My husband and I are working furiously this week to create and install an accessory piece to Mark's easel that will hold these 2mm, 3mm, 4mm, 6mm composite core aluminum panels in various sizes.  I believe that we have it.  Painting it tomorrow, so will have something to show this weekend for sure.  It works to my satisfaction already, but I don't know how great it is to look at!  This week has proved to me that it is worth the effort to secure these panels before the painting process begins because they are slippery as all get out compared to canvas and wood panels!  Summer
    dencal
  • SummerSummer -
    edited October 2017
    Update to aluminum panels project

    I've nicknamed it The Jaws Project

    As part of a project to convert my studio to include aluminum panels, here is the Easel Adapter for Composite Aluminum Panels to fit on the Mark Carder easel that my husband and I constructed out of necessity. I’ve left it unpainted so the materials, hardware, and parts can be seen more clearly. I’m going to paint it brown and black right after I upload this post. It can be removed easily enough when using canvas or wood panels. It took several hours a day for about a week from start to finish.

    For demonstration, I’ve used an 8 x 10, 3mm linen covered aluminum panel. This adapter can hold thicker and much larger panels using the same easel adapter with the use of spacing washers.

                     Aluminum bar 1-inch wide, 1/8-inch thick, about 8 inches long

                     A centering drill was used to drill the pilot hole.

                     Drill bit 1/16-inch

                     Pins were custom made from 1.4 stainless steel brads inserted about 3/8ths inches deep.  For fiber board, the pins could be a little longer.                 

                     scrap lumber, wood screws, machine screws, nuts and epoxy glue were also used

    We hope this information will be useful to some of you and that you will ask questions, if any, share your comments for any improvements on this design, and tell us about similar building projects that you know of or are building yourself.

    Thanks. Summer and Bob










    dencal
  • That's a clever combination of a wooden back plate, and the closely offset brads to bite the panel.

    Do the brads deform the aluminum at all, as they push in?  That would be my concern.
    Summer
  • PaulB said:
    That's a clever combination of a wooden back plate, and the closely offset brads to bite the panel.

    Do the brads deform the aluminum at all, as they push in?  That would be my concern.
    That's a good question.  I can see how that could be a serious problem.  There is strength in numbers sometimes, and that is why we chose this particular size of brad tip and to use a lot of them instead of just a few longer and wider ones that might have created the condition you bring up.  The fabric inside moves slightly with this size brad tip but the aluminum panel is unaffected because the composite matter is somewhat spongy with slight holes that compress to accommodate this size brad tip nicely.  I took a flashlight to determine if the panel remained flat, and it did.  Thanks for asking. 

    It would be fun rigging up something for your very large panels.  I have something in mind but I'm sure you have it solved already.

    Summer
    PaulB
  • Summer said:
    It would be fun rigging up something for your very large panels.  I have something in mind but I'm sure you have it solved already.
    I don't have a solution for large panels yet.  I don't have an easel either, so my solution remains theoretical.  My thought was to grip the panel using the friction of window insulation strips.  That is, if the easel's built-in panel support is not right.  We'll see, but I will be sure to post either way.
    Summer
  • @PaulB ; I'll watch for the post.  Thanks.
  • Ingenious. Looks like it could double up as a medieval instrument of torture. 
    Summer
  • Roxy said:
    Ingenious. Looks like it could double up as a medieval instrument of torture. 
    I agree, it looks scary! Can't you draw a smiley face on it or something? ;)
    Summer
  • SummerSummer -
    edited October 2017
    @Richard_P ; LOL  You mean paint something on an an unstained canvas?  :p
  • I meant on the torture instrument of course.. :D
    Summer
  • SummerSummer -
    edited October 2017
    I'll think about it--haha.  
  • SummerSummer -
    edited October 2017
    This photo shows the Jaws project painted, installed and ready for use.  I can remove that lower black dusty ledge if it gets in the way.  Actually, all of these add-ons are easily removable.  This phase of the aluminum project is now complete.  Thanks for looking.   :)  

       
    PaulB
  • Oh oh oh, is that one of your paintings I see??!
  • This was commissioned by my husband several years ago as pay-back for helping me build the studio.  I printed it out in black and white for this project. 
    PaulB
  • Oh, so that is a print of a photo? Are you painting this?
  • SummerSummer -
    edited October 2017
    It's almost finished.  It's 24 inches x 24 inches oil on canvas board.  Will most likely paint it again on aluminum.  This black and white image is fitting because we lost this whole area to a raging fire, including the trail after subsequent rains.  This scene means a lot to my husband and I want to get it right.   
    PaulB
  • Are you going to post the final painting here? :)
  • SummerSummer -
    edited October 2017
    Absolutely.  Bob says that he doesn't mind.  I'm painting using the original Mark Carder method.  On the aluminum, I'll be using Geneva paints though.  :)
    PaulB
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