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Monday, July 3, 2017

The "The Stars & Stripes Will Fly Once Again" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Began work at Grebinger Gallery at 8:30 am and was greeted with perhaps the largest framing job I have done since I started working part-time at the gallery 18 years ago.  The owner, Keith, was at one time a student in my photography class at Manheim Township High School and when I retired I asked if he might need some help at his gallery which he had started a few years before.  Wasn't long before I was a "pro" at matting and framing jobs from simple photos to baseball and football jerseys to now ... flags.  Then Keith bought a computerized mat cutter and my job became a dream job.  Well, this morning he showed me what I was going to have to work on today; a flag that was over 20 years old and had been flown over the home of the customer's parents in New York.   The flag had been sewn together numerous times with various kinds of thread.  Parts of it were so worn that areas of the flag were totally missing.  But, the customer wanted us to try and frame it for their home here in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Keith and I spread it out on the 4'x8' work table and found there wasn't much space left around the edge of the table.  The largest framing material that can be ordered is 40"x60" and we were going to need all of that.  The customer wanted a brass plaque that told of the owners and with the flag and plaque, the job was going to be the largest job I have ever done.  The following photographs, taken with my cell phone, will tell the story of a  flag that will once again be on display in time for July 4th.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.


The mat chosen was a tan color since red, white or blue might have blended with the flag.  As you see, there is not much space around the edge of the flag.  Here I have laid it out to see how I can fasten it to the matboard.  The matboard is fastened with double-sided tape to foamboard to give the job some rigidity.
I stitched the flag to the matboard using a needle and fishing line.  Here you can see that there are some places where there is no fabric and the matboard will show through.
I have finished my stitching and the flag looks great.  The right side has many areas where the flag had been sewn together and the stripes are no longer the same size as well as some spots where there is no white fabric. The extra matboard at the bottom will allow for placement of the brass plaque.
I next have to cut and glue the frame together.  After the glue is dry, I will force metal corner fasteners into the frame for extra support.  
Since this job is so large, plexiglass is used instead of glass.  This will reduce the weight of the project.  Here I have to remove the protective covering that comes on the plexiglass.  To do that I take a large cardboard roll and start by wrapping the end of the protective cover over it and then begin to roll the tube to remove the entire covering.  Turn it over and do the same on the other side.
This shows the mounted flag standing next to the frame with the plexiglass in place.  On top of the plexiglass I placed strips of plastic spacing material around the edge to allow the flag "space" when I place the two units together.  You don't want the flag to touch the plexiglas for fear it will be damaged worse that it already may be.  
Placing the two pieces together.
I use a special tool to drive metal wedges into place to hold the two units together.
On the rear I place a dust cover to keep dust and critters from getting to the artwork, or flag in this case.  This job is so large that I needed two pieces of kraft paper to cover the back.  On the top corners I used "Wall Buddies" rather than picture wire since it will hold the large job on the wall better than wire.  The white corners are placed over all corners to protect them until the customer has the framed job safely at home.
Keith took a photo of me with the final job.  Weighed about 35 pounds.

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