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Ted Labow wrote:

"Does anyone know of an effective method for smoothing water damage
creases in vellum? I am illuminating a large page of a book, and the
outer edge became wet. As a result, the page won't lie flat anymore. I'd
appreciate any input."

Vellum is animal skin which has been dried under tension. As soon as relative (or
absolute) humidity rises the skin tries to regain it's original form and starts to wobble.
The best way to get these creases away is to dampen the vellum. You can either use
a humid piece of cloth or paper and gently dip on the surface (both sides). Then press
(gently and long) between blotting-paper.

Another method I use is a gore-tex-sandwich. In short it consists of two layers of Gore-
Tex or Sympatex (which allows watermolecules to pass through but no drops), wet felt
or blottingpaper as the source for humidity) and two layers of non-permeable material
(like plastic or glass). I made a little drawing of this and put it on a temporary
websitepage (if you're interested have a look at
http://www.xs4all.nl/~knops/temp/goretex.htm ).

A third method is to relax the whole sheet of vellum in a so called "sweat-room". It can
be easily created using a large plastic (close) crate or box or aquarium. On the bottom
you poor some hot (very hot to get steam) water. On top of that you put a grid which is
a few centimetres above the surface of the water. Make sure the vellum does not
directly gets in contact with the water ! On top of this box you put a towel or
something similar (to prevent drops falling down on the vellum) and then a sheet of
glass to make sure no vapour gets out. Look on the webpage mentioned above to see
what is meant. After relaxing dry the vellum as above.

In all cases be very careful not to wet the vellum to much. Some kinds of vellum are
very sensitive to moisture as are most pigment you might have already applied to the
surface. Always check on the condition of the material during moistening several
times. Try to apply moisture very slowly and in little quantities.

Good luck,

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
Have a look at our Book Information Website...

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