[Table of Contents] [Search]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: dry rotted suede :: maintenance

>>there, it would be best to have those books rebound.

Is the cultural trust violated or enhanced by this act?

>I have read and tried krylon clear-that is krylon clear

Is the cultural trust violated or enhanced by this act?

Whatever happened to R-131? A bunch of people used to use that PVA to
consolidate leather. Talas used to sell it.
They also sold Promacto A1023 PVA which was perfect for gluing box edges
(assembling trays, slipcases).

>they put varnish over oil paintings

and unfortunately many bookbindings--to preserve leather.

>-that is why they have a cracked surface.

Anyway, some have cracked surfaces, perhaps the result of unhumidified
central heating, or lack of maintenance. Also a lot of the varnish on
bindings has gone dark or amber.

People are very careful to polish their varnished furniture, but forget that
their varnished paintings also are varnish surfaced. Also their varnished
bindings. Even worse, they don't care for their _un_varnished leather bindings.

It's so disturbing to be faced with restoring a customer's 19th c. family
bible that was put under the bed five years ago and when taken out was dried
out, flaking, and cracking in the hinge. It has to be done, because of the
sentimental value.

It was one thing when the librarian of the house, if not the master or
mistress of the house or a servant, knew to periodically oil the bindings.
Over the centuries so many beautifully bound books have been disbursed to
heirs without the knowledge of proper maintenance.

I've even heard claims in this decade that oiling is bad for leather books.

I recommend Marney's Conservation Leather Dressing, available from
Bookbinders' Warehouse, a local bookbinders' supplier, or some fine
bookstores (like Maggs). It's less waxy than British Museum Formula, but
still has a little wax. I originally learned to mix 40% lanolin with 60%
neatsfoot oil. I now prefer it with wax.

Maybe it's a myth, but I believe sealing the surface with wax helps seal in
the oil, which lubricates the cell membranes to reduce frictional abrasion,
and also prevents atmospheric sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide from
migrating into the skin, combining with moisture (humidity) to form sulfuric
and sulfurous acid, which break down the cell membrane, leaving a mass of
cytoplasm without boundaries. That dries out and becomes leather dust.

The dust can be consolidated (with, among other adhesive films,
polyurethane, which is used in some commercial "bonded leather" products,
depending on your archival requirements). But it can never becomer leather
again--once the cell membrane is gone there are no separate cells with
overlapping lubricated interfaces which give the skin its elasticity and
flexibility. So the hinge breaks.

A consolidated leather hinge is only as strong as the artificial membrane
created by the adhesive/dust synergetic bond. So rehinging, and sometimes
rebacking, in fresh leather may be necessary. Whether to consolidate the
original spine and apply it to the new spine as an onlay is another issue,
which should be dictated by esthetic or bibliographic (rather than
financial) considerations. If the cost of doing it right (correctly) now is
too high for the current curator, preserve all original materials deemed of
potential interest until someone can afford to put it together. Don't throw
culturally significant artifacts in the garbage.

Is the cultural trust violated or enhanced by this act?

Restoring my own books is one thing-- I consider them all raw material for
my work, and do whatever I want to them--even the incunabula. Last year I
did a Jensen Pliny (Landino). But with clients it's a different issue. Some
want it to look like a fresh binding of its period. Some want all original
material preserved and fill-ins to contrast. Some want a sturdy new binding
that will allow plenty of use. Some want a preservation enclosure only,
believing that every bit of decay is a significant part of its bibliographic

Is the cultural trust violated or enhanced by this act?

But you really can't oil suede (if you want it to stay looking and feeling
like suede). So what do you do to preserve _un_rotted suede? There are some
commercial sprays used in the shoe trade, but I have no idea of their
archival properties.


[Subject index] [Index for current month] [Table of Contents] [Search]