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Darkening leather



On 24-7-96 Jenny Monesson wrote:

>I am making a spine repair to an 1883 leather-bound volume using
>jaconette. When I pasted the original leather down over the repair
>(with rice starch paste), in certain places the moisture from the
>paste seems to have seeped through and darkened the leather. It is now
>fully dry and has not lightened fully, although some lightening did
>occur. Help!! How can I return this leather to its original color? It
>is, of course, right on the front cover. Any suggestions?

Forget it Jenny !! The proces you described (darkening) is irreversible. The
water in your starch causes the (most probably deteriorated) leather to
"burn". I have experienced this in the past with desastrous results: not
only did the leather darken; sometimes it got really black and the leather
changed its properties as well. It really got hard and crumbly.
Now (when I suspect the leather to do this) I use glue that contains no
water at all and is still (from an ethical point of view) reversible and
non-agressive to the leather.
What I use are basically cellulose-derivates solved in ethanol. The best
results I got was with using HPC (hydroxypropylcellulose or Klucel E). This
can be easily solved in ethanol 96% to get a clear and smooth glue. I
usually make a 8-10% solution.
You can read about the proces in the report of the ICOM-International
Leather- and Parchmentsymposion 1989. The contribution of Mrs. J. Puissant
(Experience in conservation and restoration of water sensitive leather
bindings) is on page 193.

Cor Knops
 ----------------------------------
|Knops Boekrestauratie
|Conservation & Restoration of Books and Paper
|Groenstraat 8
|6151 CS  Munstergeleen
|The Netherlands
|tel/fax (0)31 (0)46 4529643
|e-mail corknops@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
|url http://www.worldaccess.nl/~corknops
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