preservearchives

preservearchives:

Cleaning Up…Clean Up…Everybody Do Your Share…

If you have mold that must be surface cleaned, you need a HEPA vacuum to help safely remove the unhealthy mold and dirt from the surface and prevent air-born particles. What is a HEPA vacuum exactly? A vacuum with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter captures 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns diameter. In St. Louis NARA has a lot of documents contaminated with mold after the 1973 fire. HEPA is a necessity in our work, but suction level is also extremely important when working with fragile paper. In addition to variable speed Nilfisk vacuums, we also have Shuco vacuums in our Decontamination Lab. Designed by the medical industry, the Shuco has a lower suction and smaller hose than many HEPA vacuums are equipped. But even with the power assist of HEPA, work is most safely performed inside fumehoods when possible.

conservethis

conservethis:

veterokforbooks:

Bible repair in progress

Here’s some customer work for a change. This massive family Bible from the 1800’s had a loose front cover, some pages coming loose and a classic duct-taped back. I began working on it last week, removing the first sections and reinforcing some of the torn ones. As a happy surprise, all that duct tape came off nicely; In fact I believe it has actually also protected the sections from further damage, and because only the spine of the book was taped there was no damage to the leather. The cover boards are worn but in many ways very neat. I’m first extending the old cords a bit so that I can sew the sections back, and then continue to assemble the cover.

For those interested, the approximate price for the standard repair of a large Bible is usually around 500 and up. Books with many pages and sections (such as Bibles) tend to cause lots of work, but if the sewing is healthy and there are no damaged pages the binder has it a bit easier. The repairs for the covers still take a fine amount of leather as well as time and expertise. For this reason extensive repair is rarely recommended for relatively new and common Bibles. However, because Bibles are often the books that are much valued by their owners (holding emotional rather than monetary value), they are among the most common projects on the binder’s bench.

Oh the duct tape made me cringe. Uuuuuuuuuugh.

Have some further reading on the conservation of family bibles, from Jeff Peachey’s blog, and also from Kevin Driedger’s blog

Most Bibles are indeed not worth much, monetarily speaking…unless that is, you have a copy of the Wicked Bible.

The name is derived from a mistake made by the compositors: in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14), the word not in the sentence “Thou shalt not commit adultery” was omitted, thus changing the sentence into “Thou shalt commit adultery”. 

conservethis

conservethis:

"On the evils of oversewing"

Oversewing is a “repair” technique used by commercial binderies (and now fortunately out of fashion), but it also was used a primary sewing structure back in the day as well. What you’re looking at is an example of the former, where a modern book has its spine chopped off, and then was oversewn by sections, and then glued together and cased in as usual. 

Per Etherington and Robert’s definition:

"A method of sewing the leaves of a book by hand or machine, almost always the latter in library binding. The sewing thread passes through the edges of each "section," in consecutive order, using pre-punched holes through which the sewing needles pass.

The oversewing process generally entails the removal of the original spine lining cloth. glue, original sewing, and the folds of the sections, which is usually accomplished by planing, grinding, sawing, or cutting the spine of the book, thus removing an eighth of an inch or more of the binding margin. Sometimes the spine is first nipped to remove the original backing shoulders before the folds are removed. The book, having been reduced to individual leaves, is then jogged, and a very light coat of glue is applied along the binding edge to hold the leaves together temporarily. A number of leaves, or a “section,” between 0.055 and 0.065 inch in thickness (depending upon the thickness of the paper) is then sewn, either by hand, or, more commonly, in an oversewing machine. The thread passes through the section perpendicular to the plane of the paper (Holloway method) or obliquely. This later, diagonal method is known as the CHIVERS method, which is employed in oversewing machines. Altogether, about 5/16 or 6/16th inch of the binding margin is consumed by the process.

Hand oversewing was in common use by the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th, particularly for large books and those with loose plates. The oversewing machine, which was invented and perfected in the first quarter of the 20th century, is the principal sewing machine employed by library binders in the United States.”

Over time, the pages started to break at the point where they drape over the next page (I can’t remember the term for this exactly, my bad). This is because the movement of the spine is restricted, so the paper is doing ALL the work, and as a result it has weakened over time. This particular book suffered much less than others I have seen; when you find a brittle 19th century book that has been oversewn in this way, it’s usually been reduced to a pile of single sheets from breakage.

As this book is going into one of our special collections, I’ve decided to give it a particularly loving treatment: section by section I’ve been picking out all the oversewing and disbinding it back into a pile of single sheets. From there I’ll probably flatten the pages and smooth out the shot-gun scatter of holes along the spine edge, and guard over the holes with heat-set tissue. Then we may send it to the bindery again, but this time for an adhesive binding, which should allow the book to open fully into the gutter, unlike its previously oversewn binding. Another option would be to actually guard it into sections and sew it up with a regular all-along sewing and bind it with a case binding. After I’ve had my coffee, and thought about it some more, I’ll figure out how I want to proceed.

Until then, consider yourself educated about the evils of oversewing!

nyupreservation
nyupreservation:

Today in the lab, we’re reviewing highlighted and underlined books to determine whether they need to be replaced or can continue to circulate. The books shown here are so excessively marked up that they will be withdrawn and replaced with new copies. 
And while books that have been marked with pencil can be cleaned up with erasers, the process of evaluating and erasing takes time and staff resources, in addition to keeping the books out of circulation where they belong. 
So please, please, pretty please…don’t write in library books! Take notes on a separate sheet of paper, type notes on your computer, or scan/photocopy the pages you wish to annotate & mark up the copy. Your library’s staff and your fellow patrons will thank you!

Highlighters are evil. More evil than tape.

nyupreservation:

Today in the lab, we’re reviewing highlighted and underlined books to determine whether they need to be replaced or can continue to circulate. The books shown here are so excessively marked up that they will be withdrawn and replaced with new copies. 

And while books that have been marked with pencil can be cleaned up with erasers, the process of evaluating and erasing takes time and staff resources, in addition to keeping the books out of circulation where they belong. 

So please, please, pretty please…don’t write in library books! Take notes on a separate sheet of paper, type notes on your computer, or scan/photocopy the pages you wish to annotate & mark up the copy. Your library’s staff and your fellow patrons will thank you!

Highlighters are evil. More evil than tape.

nyupreservation

nyupreservation:

Today in the lab, Lou (Special Collections Conservator) and Laura (Conservation Librarian) are totally killing it with this lining of a very large Spanish Civil War poster from Tamiment. The poster had been broken along a center fold, and was washed and lined in two parts; today the parts are being united by means of interlocking tabs cut from the lining paper and pasted down. This treatment has been quite a journey, requiring lots of creative thinking and fortitude on the part of our tenacious Laura & Lou! Soon we’ll have some pretty dramatic before and after to show.