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Bookkeeper product

I sent this message offlist to Andy Darlow, but it may be something that
might interest others:


The Bookkeepers deacidification spray (and anything like it) is too
expensive to consider using. One cannister at $40  will cover 25 8 1/2x11
pages. I once had a 400 page book to do and I knew the client would not pay
for that much spray.

There is some controversy now about whether deacidifying with a calcium
buffer is effective, anyway.

I made my own spray according to a recipe I found in Curatorial Care of
Works of Art on Paper, by Anne F. Clapp, published by the Intermuseum
Conservation Association. It might not be available anymore. Here's the


1. Made with proprietary soda water:
        One bottle of soda water (Canadian Club)  10 1/2 fl.oz.
        Powdered Magnesium Carbonate              6 gm or 9tsp (3Tbsp)
Put the magnesium carbonate in an empty bottle of slightly greater capacity
than the soda water bottle and one with a tightly fitting cap or cork.
Place both bottles in a refrigerator overnight or until thoroughly chilled.
The reason for keeping the materials cold is to increase the quantity of
the magnesium carbonate that will go into solution. As quickly as the
operation can be done, open the soda water bottle and ppour the charged
water into the magnesium carbonate bottle. Cap firmly and agitate gently
for a short period. Return to the refrigerator. Keep the magnesium
carbonate from settling for the next half hour by repeating the periods of
gentle agitation and return to the refrigerator. Allow the excess magnesium
to settle for several hours or overnight. Sishon off the clear liquid. Keep
firmly capped and cool.

2. Made with a soda water siphon:
The most convenient way to make magnesium bicarbonate water is with a
standard, strongwalled, soda water siphon. It must be modified by cutting a
generous inch off the siphon tube so that its end will be clear of the
sediment of undissolved magnesiium carbonate.

Distilled water or de-ionized water             300 ml. or 10 1/2 fl. oz.
Powdered Magnesium Carbonate                    6 gms. or 9 t. (3 T)

Put all ingredients and the siphon bottle in the refrigerator until they
are thoroughly chilled. As quickly as possible so that the temperatures
will remain low, mix the water and magnesium carbonate, and funnel the
mixture into the siphon bottle. Discharge the carbon dioxide cartridge.
Return to the refrigerator and allow the undissolved magnesiium to settle
for a number of hours or overnight. Siphon off the clear liquid. Keep
firmly capped and cool.

I had to get the magnesium carbonate from a chemical supply house. It was
available only by the pound but it was very cheap. I have enough leftover
to last my lifetime. If you want some maybe I can sell you some. I used it
in a spray bottle to treat 3 years worth of a rotogravure sized newspaper.
It cost me a fraction of what I would have spent on  one can of Bookkeepers
or Wei To, but I had newspapers hanging to dry all over the house.

(Please note that I am not arguing for the use of this method. I understand
the problems involved and that there are good reasons for not using this or
any of the commercial products.)

Betty Storz   storz@mcn.org
Mendocino, CA

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