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Subject: Drying by freezing

Drying by freezing

From: Jeanne Eichelberger <jeichelb>
Date: Wednesday, February 14, 1996
Charlotte Tancin <ct0u+ [at] andrew__cmu__edu> writes

>The director of the center...
>asked whether these
>boxes of wet paper would dry simply by being left in the freezer
>long enough--and if that works, how long does it take, and are there
>drawbacks to this approach.

In reply to Charlotte Tancin's inquiry about freezing wet documents
and letting them dry in the freezer, I did this (inadvertently) with
some wet books that I stuck in a refrigerator freezer and forgot
about for over a year.  Yes, they did in fact dry, but it took a
very long time.  They still had a few little wet spots (all full of
ice crystals) when I finally remembered to retrieve them.  Also, of
course, the paper got very ripply in the process.  But, for having
been soaking wet, they did dry quite nicely.  They would have done
better if I'd taken them out sooner, air-dried them a little and
weighted them to de-ripple the paper a little.

Single-sheet documents will dry nicely if you can hang them with
clothespins from a clothesline in a place with good air
circulation--e.g., a fan. You don't want to do that if they're so
wet that their weight will tear them, of course.  They need to be
less than soaking.  They will be crinkly once they've dried, though,
so won't ever look quite the same and will take up more space in
file drawers.

If these are documents without artifactual value, once they're dry
you'd probably be better off making photocopies and discarding the
originals.  If you must keep the originals, you'll have to live with
at least some visible water damage.  Hope this helps a little. You
certainly have my sympathy.  Drying paper is a slow process!

P.S.  Don't freeze photographs.  They'll just glue themselves together.

Jeanne Eichelberger
Binghamton, NY

                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:60
                   Distributed: Monday, March 4, 1996
                        Message Id: cdl-9-60-012
Received on Wednesday, 14 February, 1996

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