Conservation Diary — Day 2

Nicole Gilroy writes…

Today we decided on the exact laminate of papers to use for our repair patch, and made up some acrylic colour to match the repair in with the leather of the original. This means that the repair will not be visually obtrusive, though it will be clear on close inspection what we have done. We have also secured some lifting fragments of the paper label on the spine.

Colour-testing laminates

Creating a colour match for the repair patch

The joint repair bridges between the spine of the text-block and the board, secured with wheat-starch paste in an existing split between the layers making up the paste-board. We need to carefully judge the pressure with which we position the repair, so that the board function is supported without creating tensions elsewhere in the joint.

Nicole Gilroy attaches the laminate

Applying the joint support patch

We have photographed the position of the three detached leaves at the back of the volume, and started work to uncrumple them and reveal the obscured text. This involves relaxing the creases in the paper using a mixture of water and alcohol on a fine brush, and then unfolding the turned-over text, and gently restraining under felts until dry. As with the rest of the treatment, this is absolutely minimal, and we are only treating areas where text is obscured. We are finding it an interesting discipline to “sit on our hands” where, in most of our usual work, we would judge it was appropriate to do more in-depth treatment.

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