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Subject: Vibration and loosely stretched canvas paintings

Vibration and loosely stretched canvas paintings

From: George Schwartz <conservart>
Date: Friday, June 20, 2003
Kathrin Pilz <kathrinpilz [at] yahoo__de> writes

>We are looking for means of protecting canvas paintings from
>vibration. We have already found lots of literature on temporary
>measures like for art in transit, etc. But we are searching for a
>permanent solution to this problem: e.g. loosely stretched or
>open-weave canvases like those by some impressionists. A buffer of
>air directly behind the painting should prevent the canvas from
>vibration. ...

I was faced with a similar problem some years ago for a collection
in my care. The solution I came up with was very effective and is
still in use today. I stretched a double loose lining under the
paintings; first I stretched a fiberglass screen directly onto the
stretcher, followed by a layer of polyester felt. Finally the
painting was stretched on top of the felt, which provided the
necessary dampening for the vibration. The larger the painting, the
thicker the felt needs to be. Both the felt and the screening
material are inert and stable, foams may not be. The air trapped
between the back of the painting and the felt acts as a sound
absorbing baffle.

Since a lot of the vibration was transmitted from the wall to the
paintings through the hanging mechanism, I had to fabricate
crepe-rubber cushioned hangers and placed vibration absorbing pads
under all the contact points between the frame and the wall. These
pads were cut from material available from stereo shops for
placement under turntables. (I think Edmund Scientific also has

Depending on the source and of vibration and frequency range,
padding the wall will further dampen the vibration. Be aware of
sympathetic vibration caused by resonance, like tuning forks. If
this is a problem you need to adjust the lengths of components; add,
or subtract fixation points to change the naturally resonant
frequency of the vibrating component. Creatively shaping the air
volume in the display area can also work.

George Schwartz
ConservArt - Master Frame Makers and Art Conservators
8177 Glades Road #16
Boca Raton FL 33434 U.S.A.
Fax: 561-482-6787

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:4
                   Distributed: Monday, June 23, 2003
                        Message Id: cdl-17-4-007
Received on Friday, 20 June, 2003

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