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Subject: Coil bindings

Coil bindings

From: George Brock-Nannestad <pattac>
Date: Wednesday, October 8, 2003
Holly Huston Krueger <hkru [at] loc__gov> writes

>We are currently working on Martha Graham's copy of Aaron Copland's
>Appalachian Spring with her original choreography written on the
>score in graphite.

This is a fascinating project, which lends itself to analysis based
on purpose of the restoration, in other words Operational
Conservation Theory

What is "working on"? Is it restoration, meaning repairing the
perforations, cleaning of the surface, perhaps laminating to
preserve the graphite?

> ... It is in a binding which we are calling a "coil
>binding". That is a metal coil that threads through a set of holes
>on the "spine" edges of the paper. ...

The usefulness of a "coil binding" is that it opens flat at any
page, and that it may be folded back to full thickness with the
relevant page open.

> ... The structure is  like the
>familiar spiral notebooks. The volume is disbound and part of the
>coil is "sprung" and part is still intact. ...

It is rare, but it could be due to corrosion of the mild steel

> ... There are two opinions
>about the continued viability of the coil. Some feel that the coil
>could be rewound and threaded back through the paper text once it is

You would have to go back to the original binding method and you
will find that the spiral was pre-shaped by winding and then rotated
in a screwing motion to enter all the perforations that had
previously been made in the inner margin.

> ... Others feel that once the metal has been pulled out of its
>original shape, it cannot be put back due to the way it was
>manufactured (extruded). ...

There were mild steel coils, mild steel with lacquer (later PVC
covering), and pure plastic coils (most likely cellulose acetate).
Still later, there were metal shapes that were not obtained by
winding, but which left a number of folded wire fingers to be
inserted into oblong perforations and the whole "comb" of metal wire
was then closed by clamping. I will not go into the plastic version
of this.

Removing occurs by un-screwing, so it would not be pulled out of its
original shape

> ... Does anyone have any experience or
>familiarity with metal coil-bound objects? Please advise.

With this information present, we may then advise. If the purpose is
to preserve the item, it is not likely that a metal wire would
corrode further, and hence the item could be preserved by removing
and re-inserting the coil carefully, after repair of the many
perforations that are potentially worn, particularly at the top and
bottom. All the presently available information will be retained.

However, if the purpose is to bring the book of printed music back
to its appearance when first used, then a completely new coil must
be prepared (the old parts retained in the usual manner) and
inserted by screwing. The information in the old coil will be
interpreted by preparing the replacement.

If the purpose is to prepare a book that will tolerate practical
use, but still appear original, then two-sided full-colour 1:1
copies must be made, pasted back-to-back, perforated, and a fresh
coil, perhaps made in stainless steel wire fitted. This will
preserve all the information in the original that is available to
the naked eye, and will have a physical tolerance that is otherwise
unavailable. In this case it may not be necessary to touch the
original at all, only to preserve it in a cassette.

However, perhaps the coil is not of metal at all. Kind regards,

George Brock-Nannestad

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:34
                Distributed: Thursday, October 16, 2003
                       Message Id: cdl-17-34-005
Received on Wednesday, 8 October, 2003

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