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Dear Book-Arters (with apalogies for cross-posting),

There seems to be some confusion about the
"german-miracle-restoration-machine". I've seen several postings on
various lists about this subject, so I ordered some "real" information
from the people in Leipzig. I received 4 nice brochures in which the
whole process is described.

To begin with the myth that you put the book in at one end and take it
out (fully restored...) at the other end: this is nonsense !

The company ZFB (Zentrum f=FCr Bucherhaltung) in Leipzig (which is on
it's own since January 1998; before that date is was a semi-government
institute) has automated a few things though. It's founder and driving
force, Dr. Wolfgang W=E4chter has been developing  papersplitting  with
a machine since 30 years or more. The result is an automated
splitting-machine in which you put (indeed) a leaf in at one end and
take it out on the other.

Let me please point out how they work (in general):
The objects that are offered to ZFB are first assessed. Depending on
the damage various treatments can be done:

=3Ddeacidification of books
The ZFB uses the principles of the "Deutsche Bibliothek" in a
mass-deacidificationprocess. The books are first selected, then dried
with moderate heat in vacuum. Then they are immersed in a non-aquaous
deacidification-solution. pH-values are raised to 7.5 - 9.5 and a
buffer is build in the paper (1-2% MgCO3). Books with damaged covers
can be repaired/restored in a more traditional way (mostly by hand).

Paper damaged/covered by fungi or mold can be cleaned using a
dry-cleaning method.

Damaged paper is washed first in warm (de-mineralized) water. Paper
containing wood-fibres are washed using boric-hydrides. Foxing and
other types of stains are removed by oxidation-bleaching. Apart from
the mass-deacidificationprocess as described above they also use an
aquaous calcium-magnesiumbicarbonate-solution. All these
wet-treatments are performed in containers. The papers are captured
between two layers of permeable substrate which are then submerged in
the container. Weak papers can be re-sized using methyl-cellulose or

ZFB uses a leafcasting-machine which has a continuous flow of pulp.
The objects move underneath the pulp-unit on a kind of conveyor-belt.
The picture I've seen looks very much alike the machine which was
designed by Laursen in Denmark (don't know if it's the same machine).
Leaves that are treated have to be dried and further treated in the
same way as the one-at-the-time-machine types.

This is the huge machine everybody's talking about. Basically it
splits the paper in two. Then a carrier-sheet can be glued between the
two split-leaves therefore re-inforcing it. This can be done fully
automated or by hand (for valuable or difficult objects).

The papersplitting-machine is used for certain kinds of degraded
paper. It is only useful to deploy when the paper is internally
weakened. When the paper is bound in a book, it has to be taken apart
first (and re-constructed afterwards...). This limits the range of
when a book can be put "in the machine". For a lot of material
produced in the 19th century (e.g. bound magazines or newspapers) it
is a very valuable proces, but certainly not for all books or types of
paper objects.

The ZFB has its own web-site (http://www.zfb.com) but it is only in
German and not very extensive in technical details. You also e-mail
them for information (which I did) at info@xxxxxxxx The person
involved is Hans-Joachim Dose.

Just to make sure: I have no connection to this company. I just
wanted to clear some misunderstanding and I used only the information
that was given to me by ZFB. Hope it helps.....

Best regards,

Cor Knops.

Knops Boekrestauratie
Conservation & Restoration of Books and Paper
Groenstraat 8
6151 CS Munstergeleen
phone 00 31 46 4200024
fax   00 31 46 4110180
e-mail    knops@xxxxxxxxx
URL       http://www.xs4all.nl/~knops/knops.htm

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