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Re: Conservation Specifications

>The best advice I can give you is to run for cover.  This is not a job you
>really want to do.
>Let me guess some of the details.  The doors were covered with leather
>during the 1920's-30's and painted during the 1950's.  There are some brass
>"nails" helping to hold the leather in place; a smallish window in each
>door; there were at least two and probably three cowhides used to cover
>each door with neat joins and the brass "nails" help break up the joining
>There may be some corrosion where brass and leather meet, especially bad if
>leather dressing was liberally applied.
>Now the leather is a little tired.  If red rot is not present, it is likely
>not far off.
>The time to become involved in projects like this is during the initial
>planning stages.  After that you are wasting time putting out someone
>else's fires.
>Before you begin writing up a specification you will need to make an
>in-depth examination of the present condition of the leather, including
>whether or not a finish is present (varnish/shellac); moisture content of
>the leather (this is important); presence (or absence) of leather
>dressings; etc.
>It may be possible to find the original specifications for the doors and
>their covering, and those may contain valuable information for interpreting
>the present condition of the doors.
>In short, and I'm just guessing here, the cost of doing the analysis
>required before writing up a reasonable set of specifications may exceed
>what the architect told the library would be required to "restore" the
>You won't be able to put out the architect's fire; he won't respect you in
>the morning; and there is no such thing as a standard amount of time that a
>conserved artifact may be expected to last.  It's sort of like asking your
>surgeon after quadruple by-pass surgery, "So, Doc, how long have I got?"
>"It all depends...."
>If the leather doors are going into a museum after they have been restored
>they may last a very long time; if they persist in using them as DOORS!
>with people going in and out of rooms by pushing them with their hands and
>feet, and book carts they will likely survive until next year.  Probably.
>Maybe longer.  It all depends.
>Good luck....
>>Date:    Wed, 18 Mar 1998 15:15:27 EST
>>From:    CRISBOBTAK <CRISBOBTAK@xxxxxxx>
>>I'm trying to get a project restoring leather covered doors at a library.
>>Some have been painted over. The construction company involved has stripped
>>one with chemicals and put shoe polish on to cover the scars. They want to do
>>the rest this way.  I restored one with paste and Kucel G and japanese paper,
>>etc.   The Head Architect, who approved my work, wants a conservation job and
>>I have been asked to write up a specifications sheet.  Not "sequence of
>>operations" ---specifications of conservation.  "Reversable...etc."  So, what
>>are the etceras? Is there a standard length of time that the conservation be
>>expected to last? Can any one direct me to something in the  COOL directory or
>>give me an example?
>>Cris Takacs
>Jack C. Thompson
>Thompson Conservation Lab
>Portland, Oregon  USA
>"The lyfe so short; the craft so long to lerne."
>Chaucer, _The Parlement of Foules_ 1386.

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