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[BKARTS] Cat urine damaged books


A customer has sent me 8 books from her collection that have been
damaged with cat urine. The books are 20th century (with one 1886
exception) and have some collector value ranging up to about $200 for
excellent examples (which these are not). One has a much higher price
range and top end though the copy in question has some problems besides
the fact that it now stinks to high heaven.

The customer has suggested replacing the covers to solve the problem
and return some of the books to use and this may be appropriate in some
cases. Still, every book has some degree of urine penetration into the
head or tail or both of the the pages. None appears to warrant
expensive page washing though.

The archives discus enzyme products as the best solution for
eliminating the odor. One problem lies in effectively treating the book
blocks without resorting to dis-binding and page washing. The other
question is about the effect of the enzymes on the materials.

I can imagine working up some chamber to contain a book fanned open and
a reservoir of enzyme solution to create an enzyme rich atmosphere.
This assumes the enzyme would vaporize with the water (or what ever
liquid it was dissolved in). In this way I may be able to neutralize
the odor but avoid soggy, wavy pieces of book-trash.

As to the effect on the materials...

This is not really an area of book work I'm expert in nor one I pursue
but this is a long time customer and she wants me to coordinate this
work if not do it myself. I have talked to some local sources and will
contact more but you can look at this as a job open for bid. Contact

Don Drake
Dreaming Mind

IM: stitchbyhand
(510) 537-9711


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