In the good old days (assuming there were any) picture framers had only one glazing option, glass. Glass did its job of keeping the picture surface clean inside the picture frame. Mankind has used glass for over 500 years on picture frames. Picture framing has evolved beyond just using regular glass. The biggest complaint for centuries has been “I can’t see the picture because of the reflection”. In the 1960’s non glare glass arrived on the market. This was an acid etched glass manufactured in Japan. Both sides of the glass were etched. Now picture framers could offer their clients a reflection free glazing option. The down side was that the picture looked as if the glass was either filthy dirty or the image of the art was being viewed in the fog. The improvement was to only etch one side of the glass so that there was less distortion. This is still done today with the non-glare glass. A newer option was to also have an ultra violet filtering coating also applied to the glass.
Today one can get regular glass or conservation clear glass or non glare glass or non glare glass with conservation UV filtering protection. We picture framers now have options. But wait, there is even a newer product for picture framers to offer. This is the new Museum Glass. It beautifully cuts reflection by 85% while maintaining full clarity of image and color. The Museum Glass also comes with 99% ultra violet filtering protection. The attached picture shows me reflected through the regular glass on the right half of the picture frame and the Museum Glass on the left side of the picture frame.
Picture framers who build picture frames in earthquake country have another issue to deal with, Earthquakes!!! In earthquake country a picture frame done with glass is never considered conservation no matter how good the glass is. Art of any value needs to have a picture frame glazed with acrylic. Acrylics and plastics are all over the board too. What is a picture framer to do. At Art Loft Framing we only use 1/8″ thick FF-3 acrylics. Acrylics are the hardest plastics and ours are the correct thickness. FF-3 means the product was triple inspected by the manufacturer for casting flaws or imperfections such as carbon specks. Lesser and cheaper grades are lesser in quality. Some picture framers offer a thinner and cheaper form of plastics which hade a wavy reflection due to lack of rigidity. We only use the best quality at the best thickness.
Acrylics are available in three types at our frame store. first, there is the regular acrylic which has a 40% ultra violet filtering property. this product needs to be cleaned with an acrylic cleaner and a suede like microfiber towel. This will avoid scratching of the acrylic from the cleaning. Secondly, we offer an acrylic which is 99% ultra violet filtering as well as abrasion resistant. The abrasion resistant product is ordered by the case from the manufacturer in Maine. It is not available on the West Coast. Finally, this picture framer saved the best acrylic product until last. Meet the new Optium Museum Acrylic. Like its counterpart Museum Glass it offers 85% reflection reduction as well as 99% ultra violet filtering protection, abrasion resistance and totally anti static so we can now frame pastel and chalk art with acrylic.