How to flatten a matchcover
So you have stripped the matches out of the cover and want to press it flat to display or store. There are several options and you must to determine which works best under your circumstances. The most common method is to press a stack of covers until the folded crease is loosens and remains perfectly flat. Some people use two pieces of cardboard with several rubber bands to flatten covers. Some people insert the cover into plastic pages and let the album press them flat over time. In my opinion, neither of these options provides enough pressure to properly press a cover.
I prefer the use of a clamp to press the covers flat between two pieces of wood. Make sure the surface of the wood has been sanded smooth so it doesn’t damage the cover on the end of the pile. I press up to 50 covers at a time, but that is just my personal preference for working with the covers. Alternate the direction of the covers to even out the pressure. A C clamp works very well and is easily available for a few dollars, although other styles of clamps also work. I also knew a collector who used a commercial press to flatten layers of covers with sheets placed between each layer. It worked extremely well, but may be overkill for many collectors. Generally I will leave the pressed covers for about a week to fully flatten, although older
A few notes to consider:
· Place a thin piece of paper between any covers that are facing each other so the striker does not damage the front of the other cover.
· Living in a dry climate, I will lightly dampen the creases of each cover before pressing them flat to loosen the folds. Failure to do this requires weeks of extra flattening. People who live in humid climates don’t need to do that since the humidity in the air is more than sufficient to enhance the flattening process.
· Extra care must also be taken with embossed covers since the raised surfaces will imprint themselves on any cover facing it when pressed. I will generally place them on the outside of the stack or use extra slips of paper between them and the next cover.
· Flatten stacks of covers that are similar in size. Otherwise the smaller covers may leave a crease in the larger cover next to it.