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Re: Stretching Vellum

I would agree with Peter about float matting.  I have a few mid-19th century
wedding certificates that have been flat and stayed flat.  I wonder though
that this is due to the thinness of the skins (probably sheep-split).

  If it were a thicker, would a string- mat be a better preventative?  I read
an article by Nicholas Pickwoad in the Paper Conservator.  Since I don't have
access to that, could someone else get the issue #.  It invloved dampening
the skin in a humidity pack then tying up the vellum from the back side of
the frame.

  Depending on what media you use on the skin, any fluctuation in the surface
could potentially increase its' friability- cause cracking, breaking and
loosening of the media.

  I have friends who make drums, and what they do with vellum is interesting.
 the skin is soaked a little bit, then gently stretched on a frame.   A hoop
is placed around the frame to restrain it when dry.  The edges are then glued
down to the frame.  I think they use a hide or rabbit skin.  On some smaller
inruments, the head is not dressed, but  on larger drums, they are, with a
type of leather dressing.  This is to keep the skin flexible over time, and
preventing it from drying out too much.  the drums might be heated by a stove
or fire in humid weather before use.   In Turkey, dervishes often wrote
elaborate calligraphies on the surface of the finished drum (before
dressing).  I've even seen some with painted images of dervish paraphenalia ,
or even little dervishes.

I've often wondered about the role of a little dressing in this regard.. any

Jake Benson
Assistant Conservator
Information Conservation Inc.

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