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Subject: Refurbishing leather

Refurbishing leather

From: John F. Dean <jfd5>
Date: Tuesday, January 25, 1994
With reference to the enquiry on furbishing.  Furbishing is used at
Cornell as a preliminary to conservation treatment when the original
binding is to be preserved, and as a routine cleaning/enhancement
measure connected to ongoing surveys.  The dressings used are similar to
those in use at Trinity College in that they contain neatsfoot oil,
lanolin, and beeswax (the formula varies slightly according to the types
of leather treated).  If these types of dressing are over-applied,
either too frequently or too enthusiastically, the surface of the
leather becomes sticky and attractive to dust, so it is important to
apply sparingly. The dressing consolidates the surface and, to a limited
extent, improves flexibility.  Potassium lactate and similar solutions
tend to over-wet the leather, resulting in desiccation in damaged areas,
and some research indicates that there is no benefit to their
application (I personally apply potassium lactate as a wetting agent to
the flesh side of the leather prior to pasting and covering, but this is
largely intuitive).  A very useful dressing for badly abraded surfaces
and repair finish is SC6000, acrylic wax, and this is routinely used by
all the book conservators at Cornell for this purpose.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:54
                 Distributed: Tuesday, January 25, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-7-54-001
Received on Tuesday, 25 January, 1994

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