April 4th, 2014

Back again! Today I am working on the Megaphone project. I have finished bathing and drying the pages, and wow, are they brittle! I’m starting today by treating each page, front and back, with Bookkeeper deacidification spray. Newsprint is especially acidic, and to prevent it from further deterioration, it is treated with a spray. It goes on lightly and dries quickly, so I am able to do this treatment and move right on to something else, like repairing the tears. Here is a pic of the Bookkeeper spray – you can get it at places that sell conservation stuff, like Gaylord. It cost around $30 for 8 oz. and around $100 to buy the 32 oz. refill. Not cheap stuff!

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Many of the pages, after soaking and drying, have broken down the crease where they were folded for so many years. The paper was weakened by the fold and also the acidity, so I guess this is not surprising.

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I will put them back together using a very transparent mending tissue so as not to obscure the pictures and text. I will have to make a decision regarding on what side of the page to put the mend, and choose the side that obscures the least, but unfortunately, many of them have just as much on both sides, so the mend will just have to be!

In looking at my first mend, I see that it’s not going to go back together easily. This page isn’t separated at the fold, but almost. When attempting to line up the sides of the paper that has been torn, they don’t line up – they are left with a gap. This could be because sometimes, when a paper has been folded repeatedly, it tends to crumble off at these breaks, in which case a men’s using the tissue as a filler for the missing material would be appropriate. However, in this case, the text on either side of the break is intact, suggesting that no paper is missing. This suggests to me that the paper has stretched – that’s right, paper can stretch – and therefore the mend will not be as aligned as I would like. The stretching probably occurred when it came from the water bath onto the blotting paper for drying, and during the weighted drying process.

More next time!

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