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Subject: Gatorboard


From: Ekaterina Nirtan Pasnak <nirtan>
Date: Monday, November 13, 2006
Bas van Velzen <bas.van.velzen [at] icn__nl> writes

>In the ongoing quest for materials with better properties for
>backingboards for paintings and framed works of art in general, we
>are considering Gatorboard as a replacement for Kapaline. Before
>extensively testing this material we would like to know if
>Gatorboard is used in conservation ...

I am very grateful for raising the question of Gatorboard. I got to
know this material during the internship at the Royal Ontario Museum
where it was used to mount a temporary exhibit of Chinese Rubbings.
Gatorboard was covered with Japanese paper and the rubbings were
mounted with the help of magnets.  Since then I assumed that
Gatorboard was a safe material and used it to mount large oversize
paper and textile objects. It has some very useful properties:

    1.  It comes in various thicknesses. One can choose one or
        another depending on the size of the object and depth of the

    2.  It has dimensional stability  and it won't warp or bend if
        one has to deal with very large objects

    3.  It comes in large formats, up to 2m long

    4.  It is light weight and won't create stress for smaller
        frames, especially when a client wants to reuse an older

    5.  It is covered with paper and thus water based adhesives
        could be used to mount objects

    6.  Its core is made of styrene and thus heat-set adhesives
        could also be used for mounting objects or fabrics for
        supporting textiles. It won't melt as easily as foamboard

    7.  Since it has styrene foam inside, pins could be used to
        stretch fabric prior to adhering it at the back when one has
        to mount textiles

However recently I have received a message that came from Framers
Grumble site at


that says that Gatorboard emits formaldehyde. For the latest project
I had covered Gatorboard with 2 ply museum board on the back and 4
ply Bainbridge Artcare Alpharag board on the front and sealed the
edges with the Framer's Sealing tape. Since this material has many
good properties, it  would be greatly appreciated if ICN could
research Gatorboard further and see whether it truly emits
formaldehyde or not and if covering it with good quality mat-board
cuts emissions.

Ekaterina Pasnak
Private paper conservator
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:28
                 Distributed: Monday, November 27, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-20-28-005
Received on Monday, 13 November, 2006

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