Conservation Materials and Ideas

Discussion in 'Ephemera and Photographs' started by elarnia, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. elarnia

    elarnia SIWL

    I'm seeing good links to conservation materials and ideas for how to handle some of the items we encounter and want to preserve. Perhaps we need a thread for this?

    I'll start with the great link Morgan came up with to the Florida Archives site on encapsulating documents -

    Also - while they are not cheap - when you need a particular archival item & can't find it these people will likely have it or will make it for you - University Products -

    What other resources can we share?
    Bakersgma and Pat P like this.
  2. gregsglass

    gregsglass Well-Known Member

    For a lot of people who can not afford the expensive archival products. I learned a lot of cheaper ways to save stuff from the Met in NYC. One I use a lot is, people like to save newspaper items but they are so acidic they get destroyed quickly. I soak newspaper items in a pan with half club soda and half antiacids like Maalox or Wynngel or store brands for a hour and I then hang them to dry. When dry, brush off any remaining powder. They will last for ever. Some people copy them which is nice but not as nice as the real thing. The Library of Congress does this to daily newspapers. I also wash polyester batting 10 or 12 times and let dry. It will protect fabric with out staining.
    Pat P and yourturntoloveit like this.
  3. morgen94

    morgen94 Well-Known Member

    Just a couple of resources I use(d):

    For our small museum I tried many resources for archival supplies, but I find myself repeatedly going back to Gaylord or Light Impressions.

    I also like THIS website for conservation information, and particularly the conservation podcast series. The Canadian Conservation Institute "provides information on understanding and caring for objects and materials commonly found in heritage collections."
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  4. Pat P

    Pat P Well-Known Member

    Great idea for a thread! Maybe ask Peter to tack it to the top of the forum?

    I've purchased some archival materials, especially clear book covers, from Brodart.

    For acid-free sleeves for cards and acid-free sleeves and backing boards for magazines, I like The2Buds.
    Bakersgma likes this.
  5. Pat P

    Pat P Well-Known Member


    that's an interesting process. Do the newspaper pages get wrinkled when you do this? Will it work with any kind of paper?
  6. gregsglass

    gregsglass Well-Known Member

    Hi Pat,
    If it does it wrinkely you can flatten it out. I put them in Mylar sheets and they flatten out. I have "ironed" them also, no steam just warm. I have used it on newsprint, pulp paper like books. I do not know if it works on shiny magazine paper. Again be careful with letters since the ink might be water soluble. I have used in on older typewritten memos and stuff. The Met had great ideas. On the paintings and painted stautes fropm the church
    we cleaned them with saliva. It sounds gross but it removed years of smoke, incense grease and candle soot. There five out us that kept little capped jars of saliva in the refreg with are names. Some of us got brave and asked for "volenteers" to save saliva. We would take an one inch artist brush, dip it and wipe and area about 4" square let it sit for a while and using DAMP cotton balls wipe it off. After a while you can tell if it needs to sit longer or less. The important thing to remember is let the saliva work, do not rub or scrub. Too much abrasion might remove the varnish or paint.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014
  7. Bakersgma

    Bakersgma Well-Known Member

    Greg - you mean "saliva?" :jawdrop:
    gregsglass likes this.
  8. gregsglass

    gregsglass Well-Known Member

    Hi Baker,
    Yeppers, good old spit. (God knows I need spellcheck).
  9. kentworld

    kentworld Well-Known Member

    That's what the problem was! I didn't leave my spit on long enough! True -- I learned that spit is a good cleaner for paintings. However, it does take a lot of spit.
  10. gregsglass

    gregsglass Well-Known Member

    Hi Wendy,
    I just thought of something I wonder if the artificial saliva would work.
    nah even if it did the cost would be horrendious. Besides it is a chemical I hate
    to use something new on old stuff, it has not been around long enough. At least spit will not hurt it. Someone left some on for the weekend, they forgot to rinse it off. I was very nervous about wiping it off thinking it might have eaten through the paint. No problem.
  11. gregsglass

    gregsglass Well-Known Member

    Does anyone know how to polish silver thread designs on navy blue velvet?? I ask because the church has a sash with gorgeous silver thread pelican on it. As it is the bird is black. My favorite set of vestments have all the pieces made of gold lame with very tiny red thread stitched over 2000 maryters and saints with their names all over the lame, they are about the size of a dime and you can not see them unless you look very closely.
    They were made about the 1860s by French nuns. The Met's textile conservators were just amazed at the workmanship. They did replace the red silk linings which were shredding. They left most of the the original silk intact.
  12. kentworld

    kentworld Well-Known Member

    Greg, I wonder if animal saliva would work as well as human saliva? Some dogs really drool a lot! ;)

    No idea about how to polish the silver threads, but you could take a jewelery cloth and try rubbing gently.
  13. Pat P

    Pat P Well-Known Member

    Greg, thanks for the additional info. I've soaked album pages and then flattened paper items under heavy books, but only small pieces. I would have thought that large sheets of newspaper would fall apart if soaked and hung, but obviously not!

    Interesting about the saliva method... thanks for sharing it. I have an oil painting done by my great grandmother that I might try it on.
  14. gregsglass

    gregsglass Well-Known Member

    Hi Wendy,
    I had tried the sunshine cloth on the sash before, it left discoloration on the velvet I guess from the powder in the cloth. Thankgoodness it was only a tiny spot on the turned material. It is a shame that it was not found until the Met textile people were finished. I have a very heavy lined Chinese robe with huge gold dragons they have not tarnished but the silver claws have perhaps I'll try the sunshine on them.
  15. kentworld

    kentworld Well-Known Member

    Ah, hadn't thought of that, Greg. Definitely a tricky problem!
  16. Mansons2005

    Mansons2005 Nasty by Nature, Curmudgeon by Choice

    I have used a very fine toothed comb slipped under the silver threads to protect the fabric - but it only works if the threads are "loose" enough. Got the idea from the brass plate my grandfather used to protect his coat when the brass buttons were polished.

    I have also seen blue painter's tape used to mask off the fabric - even cut to fit the pattern - but the thought of the work involved makes me exhausted just pondering it............
  17. gregsglass

    gregsglass Well-Known Member

    Hi Manson,
    It is a shame but the threads are really tight. The blue painters tape might work. I will tell them about it. The "new" restorers might have the stamina. I have my great uncles brass plate, he had silver buttons on the vest he always wore even in the summer. It must kill him over and over when he looks down and sees me in cut off sweats and flip flops. Even in the winter lol
  18. User 67

    User 67 Active Member

    What is Wynngel?
    Also is this liquid or capsule?
    Where did you hear about the LC using this. I have a friend who did his internship as a conservator there, I should ask him.
  19. User 67

    User 67 Active Member

    I have always been happy with Gaylord and Light Impressions.

    Newsprint and 'Pulp' paper are made from wood, which is naturally acidic. What conservation techniques do is lower the PH, so it is less acidic. It won't last 'for ever' but may work for a very long time.

    If you have a piece of paper that is historically important, you really shouldn't try home methods as a way to 'save money'. But if it's that article from the local newspaper where they printed grandmas recipe, the question is the level of restoration that suits the piece. If I did it to a piece of family memorabilia, I would attach a note to it (deacidified on _____, by ______ using Maloxx and club soda) just in case it requires another round of deacideification in 75 years.

    When trying this, always test a small or insignificant portion of the printed matter. Some newer newspaper inks will run, but you never really know what kind of ink they are using.

    The paper can be 'hung' on a flat wall of stainless steal (the side of the fridge works) and then gently rolled flat with a brayer. It should dry with few wrinkles. You can also tape it down to said surface with lick-back box tape, that kind of brown paper tape with envelope glue behind. this will keep the piece completely flat while it dries and a wet sponge will release the tape.

    A page can also be set in a press between Blotter paper or print makers felt blanket (print supply catalog or Art shop). The press can be two flat Pressed wood boards with bricks or weights on top.
  20. gregsglass

    gregsglass Well-Known Member

    The Wynngel was a liquid antiacid years ago. I do not know if they still make it. Gaviscon is another, any liquid antiacid would work. Years ago I wrote to the Lib of Cong
    and asked about paper conservation. They sent me an abstract with instructions.
    User 67 likes this.
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