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Subject: Coating on drafting linen

Coating on drafting linen

From: Alice Bear <abconser>
Date: Monday, June 24, 1996
Carol Edwards <cedwards [at] gdsvr1__cr__usgs__gov> writes

>The Field Records Library collection includes many maps, charts,
>etc. drawn or copied onto a linen-base material, which has a smooth
>surface. Many of these items have an odor, even though the material
>does not appear moldy, discolored, etc.  It is not a
>musty/dusty/moldy smell. It's more of a sharp smell.  A
> Colleague has suggested that the linen was treated with a paraffin
> based product of some kind, and that the smell may come from the
> deterioration of that product.

Regarding the above: you may or may not know that many drawings were
done on linen treated with potato starch (this was also used as a
substrate for architectural drawings)--it often has a shiny
look--but having treated and handled some over the course of time, I
have never had the experience of a 'sharp' smell attached. Even if
the piece had a paraffin layer over the surface, unless fairly
recent, I doubt any smell would linger.  I wonder if the pieces have
even been treated for pests or possibly even had a thymol treatment?
PS if there was thymol in it's past, beware, carcinogenic.

Alice Bear
Paper Conservator

                  Conservation DistList Instance 10:3
                  Distributed: Thursday, June 27, 1996
                        Message Id: cdl-10-3-005
Received on Monday, 24 June, 1996

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