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Subject: Paulownia storage boxes

Paulownia storage boxes

From: Scott Reinke <kiribako>
Date: Sunday, June 3, 2007
Holly Chase <holly.chase [at] sunrider__com> writes

>I was wondering if anyone would be willing to share their opinion
>about storing antique Chinese scroll paintings in paulownia/pawlonia
>wood boxes. Would you recommend this material as safe for scroll
>paintings? I am not familiar with the material and have understood
>that generally, wood products are acid and tend to off gas yet this
>wood is traditionally used to store scroll paintings.

When I worked at the University of Hawaii Library I first learned
about scroll boxes made of Japanese kiri wood, also known as
paulownia, and I had the same concerns about wood being used to
house these items.  After doing some research, and talking with
Japanese Specialists, these wooden boxes are the traditional way to
store scrolls, and have been for hundreds of years.

There are characteristics that make this wood desirable for
constructing boxes that house scrolls: natural resistance to
termites, dimensionally stability in the presence of humidity and
moisture, low thermal conductivity giving it excellent insulation
properties, a resistance to rotting, and an ignition temperature of
420 to 430 degrees Celsius (about twice the ignition temperature of
the average hardwood).

While at UHM we sent a rare Ryukyu scroll to Japan for conservation
work, a year later when the work was completed, the scroll was
returned, wrapped in silk inside a new kiri wood box.  In my
opinion, paulownia boxes are an excellent way to store Chinese or
Japanese scrolls.

I do not see the need for the insect repellent, especially not
knowing the chemical composition of the product.  I would keep the
boxes and get rid of the repellent.

Scott David Reinke
Preservation Specialist
National Archives and Records Administration
Military Personnel Records Center
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63132-5100
314-801-0904


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                  Conservation DistList Instance 21:9
                   Distributed: Friday, June 8, 2007
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Received on Sunday, 3 June, 2007

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