Mounting Cibachromes on Aluminum : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I just dry-mounted 8x10 Cibachromes last night at home for 1st time using Seal color mount tissue at 175 F on Alphamat Artcare museum board. Results good, with mild "orange-peel effect though, due to backing board, perhaps not enough to worry over.

But I've heard one can get really fancy and dry mount Ciba's on an aluminum substrate for a very smooth finish. Anyone out there doing this or know of details about it,ie what type of Aluminum, where to get, what tissue and temperature? Andre

-- Andre Noble (, December 11, 2001


I am interested, as well. I was recently in the Mumm Sparkling Winery in Napa a few weeks back. They have a wonderful photo exhibit, with many famous large format photographers represented. Anyway, there was one artist who works in color that mounted all of his prints on thin sheets of aluminum. Very cool presentation. The photo was mounted directly onto the metal, it appeared, and there was a wooden backing square that projected the metal about 1" away from the wall.

Definitely a new twist on presentation.

-- Andy Biggs (, December 11, 2001.

One local lab mounts Cibas face-to on plex using some sort of adhesive. I don't know what they use other than that it's cold-mount and of course it avoids the orange-peel etc. They'll just pop off if dry-mounted back-to on plex.

-- John Hicks (, December 11, 2001.

There are aluminum honeycomb materials available from aviation related places for use in building the galleys and airstair steps of aircraft. One manufacturer would be Nordam, I can get a phone number when I get back into town or i'm sure they would have a site. I believe theres an outlet in Oklahoma. The aluminum honeycomb sheets are EXTREMELY expensive. The aircraft manufacturers used to use a balsa wood with a very thin sheet of 2024 T3 aluminum bonded to each side. Its not used anymore but still available, not AS expensive as the aluminum core honeycomb panels. I might have some small pieces laying around my warehouse, i'll check. As far as aluminum sheet is concerned, I think you can buy a sheet of 4 foot by 12 foot (full sheet) of 2024 T3 in a thickness of .032 for around $200 USD. Trident Co. in Richardson, texas 972 231-5176 can ship in the US on a truckline for not too much freight cost. They can shear it into 3 or 4 pieces on their shear to make it easier and then you can find a local sheetmetal place to put it on their shear to size. Andy, there's lots of aircraft sheetmetal places in your part of the country (yeller pages). The next thicker sizes would be .040, .062, .090.... To save money, you would request non alclad and NO CERTS required. The alclad is a very very thin layer of pure aluminum bonded to the core 2024 T3 material, used as a corrosion inhibitor on aircraft aluminum, not needed here. And, for non aircraft use, you would not need certs. miles dallas, texas

-- MILES FEIGENBAUM (MFA1@IX.NETCOM.COM), December 11, 2001.

My very large Ilfos are mounted on # 2mm aluminium by a framing service. They are mounted with a silicon base supple sealant (the kind that is used in bathrooms) and the finish is perfectly smooth. I mount smaller sizes that can be inserted in the roll press on self adhesive aluminium (Alutac) or plastic (Plastotac) of a brand named Egafix ( I tried some other brands before and had the orange skin effect. Wether these supports are archival or not is a question I am still asking to myself. I wonder if someone knows about it? I guess the polyester base of Ilfochrome is a good barrier to prevent the glue's solvents from affecting the print, but I am very unsure of how paper based prints such as Fuji Crystal would withstand being mounted on self adhesive plates on medium to long term. Any idea?

-- Paul Schilliger (, December 12, 2001.

Andre, we've got some prints in our exhibits mounted like that...cibas & bw rc prints that are mounted on aluminum with the corners wrapped around to the back...a very clean mounting job. I'm sorry I can't tell you exactly how this is done, we get them mounted by the mural labs that do the advice would be to look around for a pro lab or a mural could be some of the material is made by the same company that manufactures Sintra, which is another great mounting substrate, which we actually use in-house. I know alusuisse, makes a whole range of products, including aluminum for signage & exhibitry...

We also have the labs do first-surface mounting, which is to mount the emulsion of a print directly to sheet of plex...this is a great way to handle prints that will be in high-traffic areas, but you really need to find a good lab to do this, you can't do it yourself....if you go this route, pay the extra cost to get the corners rounded on the plex, because it can be really sharp...

But, for just basic ciba mounting, for short-medium term use, a material like gatorboard (not gatorfoam, or foamcore), is comes in thicknesses up to an inch or so, and solid colors as well, including solid black. It has a hard finish to it, so if you use a mounting material like Scotch PMA (best for cibas or c-prints, rc prints), and use the applicator to burnish it down, it won't cause any dimples in the print like a softer board will...Gatorboard is tough to cut cleanly...we cut it on a table saw or a panel saw...but you can things like bandsaws or rotozips (orbital saws) to do profile cuts etc....PMA works great on Sintra too, only Sintra is pretty $$$....we made some oversize photo albums for an exhibit that stayed up for several years and mounted all the prints to it (sintra "pages") with PMA...even thousands of schoolkids running their hands across them, didn't cause them to pop up or off....

All this stuff that we do is for exhibit components really, so long-term is not an issue....but I don't really consider any color material long term really....if that's the case, don't permanently mount it to anything....

-- DK Thompson (, December 12, 2001.

The sealant that Paul describes is RTV (room temperature vulcanizing) which usually has acetic acid in it for curing. It is corrosive and therefore Dow Corning makes a NON-corrosive version for potting electrical connections and also for use when up against corrosion sensitive materials such as aluminum. I believe the Dow number of this one is 3145, i'll have to double check when i get back to town latter today.

-- miles feigenbaum (, December 12, 2001.


Berrger describes some aluminum sheets that they have to offer called Bromalu and Alucolor at their website. I'm not familiar with it at all, have never used it and don't know about its availability. You can take a look at it at

-- Ken Burns (, December 12, 2001.

Ken Burns, good to hear from you again. I think David Grubin's "Napoleon" special on PBS trounces your "Jefferson", But I still like your Frank Lloyd Wright documentary piece :>)

FYI, Bergger aluminum materials you made mention of, I checked, and found they are emulsion-coated.

-- Andre Noble (, December 12, 2001.

PS, at a Bergamont Gallery in Santa monica today and saw some very large fiber based B&W prints said to be mounted to aluminum. (Because the overmat covered the print edges and substrate, aluminum was not visible for confirmation.) I guess orange peel is still an issue for B&W fiber prints on normal museum board too? Why else was aluminum used for mounting?....

-- Andre Noble (, December 13, 2001.

Andre, my office is located in the exhibits production branch of a museum....don't confuse exhibit materials, even on display in a museum (not talking about art museums here....) for being archival necessarily....alot of times they are just components to an exhibit, like graphic panels or a diorama....uhm, one reaso why aluminum is used is for durability...we've used it for mounting very large mural sized prints, that would be on display for a long time...however, when we've changed out some part of an exhibit, we tend to trash these things in the process...because they're often glued to the walls or the backs of cases, or put on with a 100 feet of double stick foam tape that rips the heck out of everything when you remove them.....if they do survive, they wind up in storage areas gathering dust. The film though, sits safely in a controlled storage room.....

-- DK Thompson (, December 13, 2001.

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