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Subject: Thawing frozen books

Thawing frozen books

From: Ann V. Frellsen <libavf>
Date: Thursday, January 26, 1995
In response to Artemis BoneDea's request for information about salvaging
frozen books:

Salvaging frozen books should ideally be done in a freeze-dryer, but
since you only have 10 you can do this "by hand". Remove the books as
soon as possible from the home freezer (most are frost-free types which
cycle warm air into the chamber to melt accumulating frost. This means
you are subjecting your books to water over and over again.) As the
books thaw, *carefully* separate the pages and insert interleaving
(paper towels or unprinted newsprint are what we use). Set the books
upright and fanned open on a table with a circulating fan (a home model
is fine) set on low so that air gently passes over the pages. The action
of the moving air can help to open pages that are still frozen together.
Alternate the air-drying with pressing for several hours in standard
book presses. We start with 3-4 hours in front of fan, with 4 hours in
the press, then back to the fan and repeat, gradually increasing the
pressing time as the materials dry out. Your dry winter air should help
you. Change the interleaving papers regularly with new papers. Following
this technique drastically reduces the permanent cockling we often see
in wetted books.

This technique could take anywhere from one to two weeks, so be alert for
the development of mold. Also realize that this is useless if these
materials had coated paper (which I assume you can't know until you start
to open them up).Stoick with it. We have salvaged materials so well that
you can barely tell they had been wet (except for the stains).

P.S. Don't use the microwave unless you want to cook the adhesive the
books are put together with!

Ann Frellsen
Preservation Office
Emory University Libraries
Atlanta, GA
Fax: 404-727-0053

                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:59
                 Distributed: Sunday, January 29, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-8-59-006
Received on Thursday, 26 January, 1995

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