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Death by oiling

There is increasing concensus among well-informed book conservators that
the most compelling reason for oiling leather bindings is cosmetic, not
therapeutic. (See the _Abbey Newsletter_ for an introduction to the
extensive recent literature on this subject.)

In general, oiling will increase neither the longevity or the durability of
a leather binding--indeed, oiling is much more likely to do harm than good,
not only to the leather itself but also to whatever lies beneath it.

Concentrate your energies on keeping your leather bindings in a hospitable
physical environment. Do NOT oil your bindings.

Terry Belanger  :  University Professor  :   University of Virginia
Book Arts Press : 114 Alderman Library : Charlottesville, VA  22903
Tel: 804/924-8851   FAX: 804/924-8824  email: belanger@xxxxxxxxxxxx
            URL: http://poe.acc.virginia.edu/~oldbooks/

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