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Our Website & Shopping with Us:

Is your website secure?
When will I receive my order?
Why is shipping estimated?
Why do you ask for my email address?
I am trying to order online, but it is telling me to enable my cookies, or that my shopping cart is empty. Why?
When do you charge my credit card?
Can I get your products in an art supply store near me?
Sometimes when I call during business hours I get voice mail. Why?
How does one become a SourceTek Featured Artist?

Our Products:

Adhesives:
What is Miracle Muck and how do you use it?

Artist Panels:
Why are your panels more expensive than others I have seen in art supply stores?
I have heard that coating the back of panels with gesso, shellac or varnish can prevent warping.
Do you offer Hardboard/MDF panels in all of your canvas lines?
What is Gatorfoam?
Are your panels archival?
Why do you brand the back of your panels?
Do you make panels in other sizes?

Canvas:
Why does the Claessens linen sometimes turn a creamy color?
Why are there occasionally lines in the priming on the Claessens canvas?
 



IS YOUR WEBSITE SECURE?
We take our customers’ privacy very seriously.  We never share or sell any of your information.  We have many systems in place to protect our clients’ information, including a very secure website.  Although our website may seem a little more “picky” than other sites you shop with, it is this way to protect you via enhanced security programming features.  We also use "cookies" which helps reduce the amount of information kept with us.  Our SSL certificate uses a 128-bit key encryption to ensure information is safely transmitted to our server.

WHEN WILL I RECEIVE MY ORDER?
Although every effort is made to determine our customers’ needs, we may occasionally be out of a particular product due to a sudden peak in demand.  Orders for in-stock merchandise are typically shipped within 1-4 business days Monday through Friday excluding holidays.  The spread in the number of days to ship your order depends upon whether or not we are in a peak season or if your order was placed during a sale.  In fact, many orders are shipped within 1 business day!  (We do not charge extra for this service like many of our competitors do.)  We use UPS service as our shipper of choice.  Once the order has been shipped it will arrive in approximately 2-3 business days on the west coast, 5-7 business days on the east coast, and 4-5 business days for areas in between.  Expedited shipping services are also available. (You will receive an email from Quantum View or Auto-Notify which is UPS letting you know your tracking information.) 

WHY IS SHIPPING ESTIMATED?
In order to help our customers save even more, we do not use shipping as a profit center.  As such, we do not mark up the cost of shipping and handling charges.  In order to determine your exact shipping amount, we use your zip code, weight of products ordered, and dimensions of the package to get a quote from UPS.  We charge only actual cost for your shipments.

WHY DO YOU ASK FOR MY EMAIL ADDRESS?
We ask for your email address as a method of contacting you.  Many folks prefer to access their mail or messages at their convenience and prefer email. We also occasionally send an email to our customers informing them of new products, specials or discontinued items, and new Featured Artists.  You will also receive an email when your order ships.  We never sell or distribute your personal information to anyone!

I AM TRYING TO ORDER ONLINE, BUT IT IS TELLING ME TO ENABLE MY COOKIES, OR THAT MY SHOPPING CART IS EMPTY. HOW DO I FIX THIS?
This a a general response to a failed attempt at adding something to your shopping cart.  Unfortunately, there are a variety of reasons that can cause this to happen.  The most common reason this message appears is that the box to the left of the quantity field for the item you are trying to order has not been checked.  Simply go back and check the box next to the item you want, and then enter the quantity desired in the next field.

Another reason this may occur is that your security settings are too high on your computer to allow "cookies".  "Cookies” refers to a small space on your hard drive used by websites to "remember" who you are and what you have placed into your cart.  (It does not allow us to access your hard drive.)  If your security settings are high, chances are that your computer does not allow “cookies”.  To change your Security Settings, see your browser's help menu and search for cookies.  If this does not help you can of course always call us at 1-800-587-5462 to place your order over the phone.  We apologize in advance if this happens to you.  Please note that you will still receive any online discounts available at that time.

WHEN DO YOU CHARGE MY CREDIT CARD?
We charge your MasterCard or Visa on the day your order ships and never before.

CAN I GET YOUR PRODUCTS IN AN ART SUPPLY STORE NEAR ME?
You bet! Simply inquire about our products at your local art supply store.  We would be happy to assist them with carrying our panel lines. 

SOMETIMES WHEN I CALL DURING BUSINESS HOURS I GET VOICE MAIL. WHY?
We are a small company and spend a great deal of time in the workshop making our handcrafted products. Unfortunately we are not always able to answer the telephone during this process.  We may also be on the telephone assisting other customers and therefore additional incoming calls may be directed to voice mail.  Please leave a message so that we have a way to contact you and we will return your call promptly as we check our messages regularly throughout the day.  Our telephone system is secure so you can also leave a detailed message regarding your order.

HOW DOES ONE BECOME A SOURCETEK FEATURED ARTIST?
Our Featured Artists are selected from our customer base of professionals who have attained national recognition.  This area is designed completely around the artist providing a biography, images of their works, gallery and personal website links, upcoming scheduled events, and more.  The Featured Artist section is our way of thanking this select group of artists for their referrals, assistance and support.

WHAT IS MIRACLE MUCK AND HOW DO I USE IT?
Miracle Muck is a wonderful polyvinyl ethylene acetate archival adhesive which is ideal for use with canvas. Because it dries completely inert and is heat reactivatable, it is used by many conservators in restoring old works of art.  It is also popular for use in mounting watercolors or photographs to mats.  We use Miracle Muck to make all of our panels. 

Miracle Muck can be applied in a variety of ways to many different type of surfaces.  Visit our Using Miracle Muck Instructions page for more information on using it with art panels and canvas.

WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS / PIGMENTS IN THE OIL PAINTS YOU SELL?
Holbein employs more than 20 color specialists who use only the finest pigments in making their world renowned Artists’ Oil Colors.  The components for each color can be viewed by visiting our oil paint section through the Order Center and clicking on “Technical Data”.

I AM LOOKING FOR PAINT WITH A SPECIFIC COLOR NAME AND DO NOT SEE IT LISTED FOR HOLBEIN.
Many manufacturers select their own name for colors as a “signature color” or for paints which use synthetic pigments to either enhance a color, make it more vibrant, or to duplicate it at a lower cost.  (For example, Vasari's Ship Rock is similar to Holbein's Grey of Grey.)   Looking at the ingredients in the paints can assist in determining similar colors across various manufacturers.  Although the names may be different, most manufacturers make the most popular colors.

WHY ARE YOUR PANELS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OTHERS I HAVE SEEN IN ART STORES?
Actually our panels are very competitively priced.   We encourage you to "shop" prices on other panel manufacturers' websites so that you can see we offer the best pricing on comparable panel lines.  We import our fine linens from Belgium, our wood comes from Russia, our hardboard is art-grade and our Gatorfoam is the strongest available. We use only the finest components available and make our archival panels completely by hand here in the United States of America.  Most other companies source their panels from overseas.  Others make them on machinery using heat activated sheets of adhesive which can result in changes to the canvas weave.  Many of the panels found in art supply stores are made on cardboard or other less expensive substrates, and they use inexpensive cotton duck for the canvas.   

Although we cater to professional artists and serious students who demand a top quality base for their work, even the weekend painter should try our panels (and they may never go back).  Wayne Wolfe put it very well, "When I studied with Robert Lougheed in Santa Fe, he stressed the importance of always being a pro -- in your attitude, in your integrity, and with your materials. . . ". 

I HAVE HEARD THAT COATING THE BACK OF PANELS WITH GESSO, SHELLAC OR VARNISH CAN PREVENT WARPING.
Merging any two unlike materials can result in warping as the two substances pull against one another.  Now, that being said, we find materials that work more cohesively together within these parameters.  In the case of our natural wood panels, any warping present (if any) will be permanently eliminated once the piece is framed.  That is why we use Baltic birch - it is a rigid hardwood, yet remains flexible.  It is also recommended by conservators as an excellent base.
 
Ralph Mayer's The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques states, "Contrary to popular opinion, the complete painting or varnishing of back and edges to prevent absorption of moisture is not always advisable, as it may encourage dry-rotting of the wood; the end grain at least should always be left uncoated so that air has access to it."  

We make our panels the same way that they have been made for many years because this method has been tried and proven over a significant period of time.  While some folks like to either shellac or gesso the back of the panel, many professional artists prefer it to be left natural.

DO YOU OFFER HARDBOARD / MDF PANELS IN ALL OF YOUR CANVAS LINES?
Our Academic Line
is designed for quick field studies or students who are looking for an inexpensive alternative while still wanting to use a quality, handcrafted product.  Our Premium Lines offer the same high quality hardboard base with Claessens linen mounted on them. 

Our high quality MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard), sometimes called Masonite or hardboard, is made by mixing a small amount of resins, water and wood pulp and applying 1000 pounds of pressure per square inch to bind the pulp together and eliminate the water thus creating a smooth, uniform surface.  (Tempered hardboard also adds an oily layer heated into the board to provide the shiny, dark surface.  This can cause gesso and sizing to chip away as they cannot adhere well to the oily layer.  As such, we use only untempered hardboard for our panels.)

WHAT IS GATORFOAM?
Gatorfoam is a unique product made of a lightweight high-density extruded polystyrene foam that is bonded on both sides to patented Luxcell facers.  These facers are wood-fiber veneers impregnated with a proprietary resin for integrity, durability and strong moisture resistance.  When exposed to long periods of very moist conditions, there is little or no change in either the face or the core.

Keep in mind that there are dozens of grades of Gatorfoam and foam core products with a significant variance in price.  We use only the highest and most durable grade for our panels.

Because of its unique composition, there are no conservation standards that specifically apply to Gatorfoam.  Both white and natural Gatorfoam have successfully passed the Photoactivity Test conducted by the Image Permanence Institute of the Rochester Institute of Technology.  (Conservation mounting requires special materials to ensure that the art to be preserved will remain undamaged in the future.)  Major museums have used Gatorfoam to mount exhibitions for many years!

"Testing at both room temperature and 150 F resulted in out-gassing at the parts per hundred million range only.  The base papers used in Gatorfoam are in the low acidic range, however, the saturation process reduces the mobility of the acid.  For long term storage, protection should be provided from ultraviolet light on the exposed edges."     
                                                                                                                    - Alcan Composites, Manufacturer of Gatorfoam

WHY DO YOU "BRAND" THE BACK OF YOUR PANELS?
We place our logo on the back of our panels for a three reasons.  First, we are proud of our panels.  Second, it offers a convenient way for our customers to locate our telephone number and website address in the event they have questions about our products.  Third and most important, it tells any conservator or other individual who may work on your painting in the future that it was made by SourceTek.  This allows any individual who may not be familiar with our products to logon to our website and learn what binding agent, quality of wood, and canvas has been used to make the panel.

DO YOU MAKE PANELS IN OTHER SIZES?
We can make any of our panel products in a custom size for you.  We make our custom panels once a week on Tuesdays for orders received prior to Tuesday.  Please feel free to call us for a quotation!

ARE YOUR PANELS ARCHIVAL?
Our Baltic birch panels are indeed archival.  Our Gatorfoam panels have received the blessing from many artists and conservationists alike; however, if you read the above description of Gatorfoam it suggests that technical standards have not been established at this time even though it is accepted by most museums in displaying artwork.

We make our panels the way we do because this method has proven itself over a significant period of time.

WHY DOES THE CLAESSENS LINEN SOMETIMES TURN A CREAMY COLOR?
The front of oil-primed canvases can occasionally turn a creamy color as a result of the linseed oil used in priming it. If the canvas does not get exposed to light or is placed behind another panel, it will show a slight creamy hue.  This natural phenomenon can be alleviated by exposing the panel to daylight for a short period of time.

WHY ARE THERE OCCASIONALLY LINES IN THE PRIMING ON THE CLAESSENS CANVAS?
Claessens applies the final layer of primer using large velvet rollers.  The edges of these rollers meet up at a certain point creating this smooth “seam” of paint variation.  This is not a defect, just an optical effect in the top layer.  There is no actual crease or irregularity in the canvas or the primer.

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Last modified: March 5, 2005