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Re: [BKARTS] Vellum Restoration

My advice was concerning covering vellum, not pages. I used the described
method to remove and flatten dozens of 17th cen covering skins, mostly calf.
It will grow slightly with the moisture it receives from the sympatex, but
will then go back to the size that it was before being humidified. If Bob
wants to reuse the original boards and the original skin has shrunk from
it's original size he could make new, smaller turn-ins if there is enough
material, but of course the lines of the old turn ins will show. Or he could
cut a small strip off the width of the boards to accomodate the shrinkage,
if this does not make the covers too small (usually the foredges are large
enough lose a few mm). It is possible however that it hasn't shrunk at all
and has simply lifted off the boards, which would just require humidity and
L Parker

From: "Jack C. Thompson" <tcl@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To: Book_Arts-L <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Vellum Restoration
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 2004 23:34:28 -0800


You've already received some advice about this problem, and it was
good advice so far as dealing with pages of parchment is concerned.

However, parchment on covers is another matter.

Parchment is animal skin which was stretched and dried under tension.

When you have a cover of parchment which has shrunk and pulled away
from the boards there is really not very much to be done.

In theory, you could damp the cover out well and re-stretch it, but
that has never worked out in practice (so far as I know.)

When I have been presented with this problem in the lab my solution
has been to replace the parchment cover with paper-case paper, well
boned down after a light brushing of gelatin, followed by titling
in hand.

The reason for this is that older books from European countries which
have come to North America have gone from a damp climate to one with
central heating, generally with gas.  Hot and dry is not good for

I have a longer talk, with slides, but this is not the place for that.


>Restoration may not be quite the right word but - I have a small antique
>book I purchased years ago for practicing binding in leather.  The vellum
>now completely detached from the boards and I would like to reuse it.  I
>would like to know if there are any treatments I can apply to make it
>pliable.  I'm leery of just wetting it.

Thompson Conservation Lab.
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, Oregon  97217



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