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Subject: Printing from historic woodblocks Microfilming special collections materials Mold

Printing from historic woodblocks Microfilming special collections materials Mold

From: Ellen McCrady <whenry>
Date: Wednesday, August 12, 1992
Bobbie Pilette asked about printing from old woodblocks without actually
using them.  What museum conservators sometimes do when they have to
copy a shape is to take a latex mold of it, with a thin layer of latex,
which copies the shape and details exactly.  Then I think they pour
plaster of paris into the mold, and when it is set, they get a positive
copy of it with some appropriate material.  I watched Nikki Horton do
the latex part once.  But this might not work if the surface was too
porous; as someone.  Artists, who work with a variety of materials and
know how to copy shapes, might know a way too.

On testing the brittleness of rare book pages:  This is exactly what
Derek Priest and his students are working on with their sonic modulus
test.  When I toured the UMIST labs at IPC, they demonstrated it, but it
didn't seem as if they had gotten very far.  The equipment is fairly
sophisticated right now, and takes skill to use.  They hope to simplify
it later on.  You could write, phone or fax him to discuss it: UMIST,
Dept. of Paper Science, PO Box 88, Manchester M60 1QD, tel.
011-44-61-200-3897, Fax 011-44-61-200-3897.  He might be tickled pink to
know that you have a real live application.  In the meantime, perhaps
visual examination can catch most of the brittle books, provided they
have been used enough to show wear.  Big and little bits tend to crack
off in patterns you don't see in, say, textbooks that have been
carelessly used by students.

Nancy Carriar's query on cleaning mold-infested collections was
forwarded by Nancy Elkington.  It was foresighted of Nancy Carriar to
inquire, because ordinary methods of cleaning off large amounts of mold
are not appropriate, and there is a serious health hazard.  Some kinds
of mold infect human bodies too, causing skin, lung and internal organ
damage and sometimes killing people.  The spores and reproductive
fragments are sometimes submicron size and are not caught by ordinary
vacuum cleaners.  The Smithsonian used to have a leaflet on removing
mold from individual leather books: it said to take them outside and
brush them off.  The Science Library in Leningrad that burned needed to
be fumigated on a large scale because they had an active infection, so
they fumigated everything in place, but if the mold is not active and
the books are dry, there is no need for fumigation.  A library in
Denver, I believe, had a mold outbreak, and they reported in CAN how
they had the library fumigated, then brushed the mold off afterward.  At
Brigham Young University, when entire collections of old books are
bought, they are brushed off before bringing them into the building.
They do it in a fume hood on the loading dock using a vacuum cleaner
with an upholstery brush, and they wear a little 3M dust mask.  This
keeps most of the mold away from the worker, but I don't think it deals
with the possibility of infection from long exposure, because the
submicron particles are not taken care of by the equipment used.  Ursula
Dreibholz says that when she trained in Germany, they treated
mold-infested leather books with ethanol, and I have heard this
recommended by others too.  Whatever method is used, a mycologist should
be contacted to monitor the adequacy of control used.

    **** Moderator's comments:   To send mail to Ellen McCrady, put
    FORWARD: Ellen McCrady
    at the top of your message and mail it to whenry [at] lindy__stanford__edu

                  Conservation DistList Instance 6:14
                 Distributed: Saturday, August 15, 1992
                        Message Id: cdl-6-14-003
Received on Wednesday, 12 August, 1992

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