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Re: [BKARTS] drying books

The trick to drying a book with interleaving is that you don't leave the
interleaving sheets in place the entire time.

Interleaving is added to absorb wick moisture out of the wet pages (so
waxed paper is kinda defeating that purpose, though it does keep the
coated papers from sticking together or 'blocking.' Pressing or
weighting a book with interleaving in place is indeed likely to damage
the binding.

As the interleaving absorbs moisture you remove it and put in fresh
sheets. This speeds the drying process up considerably and thus lessens
somewhat the risk of mold growth in the damp fibers.

We interleave every ten pages or so, then once those sheets have gotten
wetted, we pull them out and insert a fresh sheet in between the last
two, i.e., at a new point in the pages.

I would never press a swelled book (with lots sheets added). Press
(gently if coated papers) after the interleaving sheets have been
removed.  I like to alternate pressing time and drying time. As an
example: If it's really wet, you will interleave several times until the
pages are just damp. Then press for a couple of hours, then interleave
and place in front of fan for a couple of hours. Repeat as necessary --
usually takes a few days with gradual lengthening of the press time and
shortening of the dry time.  The pressing time will help to equalize and
distribute the moisture more evenly, so the pages should dry with less

Because the interleaving cockles as it wets (and yes, waxed paper will
absorb moisture and cockle) it is important not to leave it in the
textblock for too long.

As this process gets time consuming and expensive we use cheap paper. We
get end rolls of blank newsprint, cut it into a few standard sizes (ex.
5 inches x 8; 7 x 10, etc.). Those packages of folded paper towels (like
used in public restroom dispensers) work great, too.

Ann Frellsen
Collections Conservator
Preservation Office,  Woodruff Library, Rm. 127
Emory University Libraries
Atlanta, GA  30322-2870
phone: 404-727-0307         FAX  404-727-0053

Eric Alstrom wrote:

I understand the theory of interleaving, either with waxed paper or
absorbent towelling.  But in practice, how do you interleave between EVERY
page in such a large book?

In my experience, even interleaving every 10 pages or so creates such a
swell that A) the book won't close in order to palce a weight on top of the
book and B) the binding can be damaged from all the added thickness, even if
you can get the waxed paper all the way to the spine on every page.

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