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Subject: Stainless steel tacks

Stainless steel tacks

From: Mel A. Hardin <merengo>
Date: Saturday, July 29, 1995
Laszlo Cser <laszlo [at] restorart__com> writes

>In paintings conservation there several different methods for
>attaching canvas to various substrates. In the case of attaching
>canvas to wooden stretchers there are two standard methods: staples
>(by means of manual or powered staple guns) and tacks (usually
>hammered, referring to the tacks not the conservator). In the former
>case monel staples are available where metal stability is a
>consideration. In the latter case, there are a number of options
>from blued steel, aluminum, and copper, each having there own
>inherent material or application problems.
>Does anyone know if this product exists and where? Is there any
>interest in a product of this kind to pursue a production run for SS
>tack hungry conservators the world over?

As a painter for 20 years and conservator of 15 years, I understand
the query regarding stainless steel staples. Because of my concern
of light corrosion on the 100 year old tacks, I began to use copper
and then abandoned them as the softness of the metal. Personally and
aesthetically I do not like staples,,,but they are much faster .
Because of this they reduce the time you will spend , and the bill
for your client, which I also consider to be important. While I do
understand a conservators concern for materials, I also have to
balance this with the effectiveness of the material vs.
over-polishing the apple.

My experience has shown me that once a painting is valued enough to
come to a conservators hands, I am assured that it will not be
stored in an salt-water Oyster Shack on pilings . But if it is in
such an atmosphere, even stainless steel will corrode. I have seen SS
so corroded it looked like iron. SS ain't stainless folks.

So, I have begun to using cheap, fast drive and  effective regular
staples. Chances are the painting you work on today will have a nice
home and a check-up in  less then 25 years. Have some faith in your
clients (and museums) and save them some money.

Mel A. Hardin

                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:15
                  Distributed: Friday, August 4, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-15-007
Received on Saturday, 29 July, 1995

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