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Subject: Thawing frozen books

Thawing frozen books

From: Michael Betz <wa-archv>
Date: Thursday, January 26, 1995
Artemis BonaDea <artemisb [at] muskox__alaska__edu> writes

>One of the libraries in town has recently recovered damaged books that
>were saturated with melted snow.  The books have been placed in a home
>freezer and are described as "rock solid frozen".  There are less than
>10 books and the library staff would like to thaw them and attempt to
>salvage them.

Generally, I have used a Wei T'o freeze dryer to dry books, which I find
to be a great machine. I have thawed a number of books at home after
letting them 'dry out' in a frost-free freezer for up to 9 months. I
would think that it would be best to let them thaw at room temperature .
I wrap the books in newsprint to minimize condensation, and put them
under weight to encourage flattening. Some of the water will appear as
frost which can be carefully removed before thawing. I would process the
books as any other wet book, once they have left the solid state.

>Also, the staff asked if a microwave could be utilized to safely thaw
>frozen books.  I have heard rumors of microwaves being used but have not
>seen any published information. I appreciate any assistance.

Do Not Use A Microwave! I attempted to thaw a paperback in a microwave,
*once*. To my chagrin, the adhesive let go completely which necessitated
regluing the entire text block, and the plastic laminate on the cover
shrank making the cover useless. I find cooking food in a microwave
somewhat unpredictable. Microwaves can also react with any metallic
components in a book making for an interesting light show, and damaging
the book. All in all, not a good idea

Michael Betz
Washington State Archives

                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:59
                 Distributed: Sunday, January 29, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-8-59-005
Received on Thursday, 26 January, 1995

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