Poster Advice, Restoration Advice
Can I trim off the excess linen from my poster before I frame it?
In days past, linenbackers would often return your restored poster to you trimmed right to the edge of the original poster. In more recent years, many linenbackers have decided to leave a small amount of excess linen around the poster. This is done for several reasons. The first reason is because when it is shipped back to you, it moves around in the tube and the excess linen will take a bit of a bend instead of the poster. Also, since the canvas fabric can fray a bit at the edge, by leaving a little extra, you don’t have the frayed fabric going into the poster. When handling the linebacked poster you will also have a little excess linen to grab instead of the actual poster paper. Surely there are other reasons we could think of but these are among the most important.
When you go to frame the poster, if you are using a mat border, there is no reason to trim the excess off. The poster will be sitting behind the mat and you won’t see it. This brings us to the reason for our question. Many collectors do not like to see the excess linen in the frame; typically the linen is not the same color as the actual movie poster paper and to some, it looks odd. Also, not all linenbackers leave an equal amount of excess linen but then tell customers never to trim the linen at all. Well, why would anyone frame a poster with uneven amounts of linen around the edges so that the poster would not be centered in the frame? This is another one of those “use your common sense” questions.
For a large contingency of our framing customers who prefer not to see the excess linen, we trim the linen down to about ¼” all the way around. That way, we have not trimmed right up to the edge of the poster and the frame lip on most frames will cover that ¼” of excess linen so it will never be seen. It is a personal choice. We have a few customers who believe that trimming down the excess linen devalues the posters. Our common sense tells us since the linen was not part of the original poster, how can it devalue the poster? Also, one probably can guess that if you have valuable movie poster to sell, no one is not going to buy it because there is only ¼” of excess linen around the edges. If that were true, then all those posters that were linenbacked, years before leaving excess linen, would be of lesser value.
We don’t believe this to be the case and this is why posters are still purchased today that have been trimmed right up to the edge of the paper. Again, this is one of topics debated frequently.
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