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Re: [BKARTS] wax in leather-bound book repair


Here in the Beach Conservation lab at the University of Oregon we
regularly use Klucel-G to consolidate worn leather and finish with an
application of SC6000 wax. In your posting you noted that the label on
SC6000 recommends it not be used on degraded leather.  Does consolidating
with Klucel-G provide enough stability for an application of SC6000? The
bulk of our work is on the circulating collections.

As a student assistant in Special Collections in the 1980's I routinely
dressed leather bindings with neatsfoot oil or Fredelka Formula
Leather Preservative/Restorer wax. At
some point they stopped this practice. I occasionally get questions on
where we stand on the issue of oiling leather bindings.  Is it advisable
to dress leathers if one is careful to apply moderately?  Is it helpful to
the leather?  Is SC6000(acrylic polymer, wax emulsion) comparable to
Fredelka Formula (neatsfoot oil, beeswax, microwax)? Are there any
other products you would recommend or recommend against??


Marilyn Mohr
University of Oregon, Eugene

On Tue, 22 Apr 2003, chela wrote:

> Dear May,
> Its not unknown for the final step of traditional leather binding
> "refurbishing" to be a wax coating.  It makes everything shiny and
> adds a layer that could protect the covering material from dirt and
> sweat etc. of handling.  Dressing and waxing is a tradition in many
> types of leather-work.
> Colored wax, like shoe cream products have also found there way into
> binderies, often to help achieve the best final leather color match.
> These waxes could all have a witches brew of solvents, fats and oils
> in them, and waxes have been known to "bloom" and cover the book with
> a white powder, not to mention that "Brilwax" smell! Elements of the
> wax could also migrate toward the textblock, with serious
> consequences!
> The Leather  Conservation Centre in England makes an leather wax
> called SC6000 which is acrylic based, seems to form a discreet layer
> on top of the leather and  is carried by a fairly benign solvent.
> They recommend testing this wax on a unobtrusive area to watch for
> color change and changes to the grain layer.  This wax is not
> recommended for use on degraded leather. The wax is available from
> Talas.
> chela
> --
> Consuela Metzger
> Instructor in Book Conservation
> The University of Texas at Austin
> School of Information
> The Preservation/Conservation Studies Program
> 1 University Station D7000
> Austin, TX 78712-1276
> (512) 471-8293
> (512) 471-8285 (fax)
> chela@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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