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Re: Oil on books


I once knew a cataloger who didn't like cataloging 19th c. pamphlets; one
day he was caught slipping a batch of them down the elevator shaft.  I
wonder who he's working for these days....

Flushing the books with solvents which dissolve grease (paint thinner,
acetone, etc.) will remove the grease, or at least reduce and diffuse it.

There is a down side (as always).  Any printing ink which is dye-based
(instead of linseed oil-based) will likely also dissolve out; book cloth
will likely retain some stain and if the book cloth is impregnated with
plastics of one sort or another, that may also dissolve.

Then there is the danger associated with handling flammable/toxic solvents.

The safest course is to replace the titles in question; if they are very
valuable, send them to a book conservator.

>        Hello all-
>We just discovered some of our books down at the bottom of our elevator
>shaft and they are soaked in elevator grease and grime. Is there any
>effective method for cleaning/saving these items? I imagine just drying them
>out wouldn't be very effective, since it isn't water we're talking about.
>Thanks in advance.
>Tara Kennedy
>Acquisitions Assistant
>Trinity College Library

                             Jack C. Thompson
                    Thompson Conservation Laboratory
                   The Caber Press * Istor Productions
                             7549 N. Fenwick
                           Portland, OR  97217
                        503/735-3942 (voice/fax)


              "Is a half-wit herbalist only parseley sage?"
                                        Don Guyot, 1996

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