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Subject: Clarkson foam supports

Clarkson foam supports

From: Terry Belanger <tb3e>
Date: Saturday, August 31, 1996
When Gary Frost, Peter Herdrich, and I were making the videotape
"How to Operate a Book" in 1986, we wanted to show and recommend the
use of the foam rubber supports then recently developed by
Christopher Clarkson. The Clarkson supports were not yet in
production, but that was no problem for Gary Frost: he went out and
bought some 4" x 24" x 24" foam rubber pieces intended for chair
cushions, and, using an electric carving knife borrowed from Mary
Dobbie for the purpose (she used it for quartering rutabagas), he
expertly sliced the foam rubber up into the various wedge shapes and
rectangular solids we needed.

During Rare Book School (RBS) we can have as many as 20 students
each collating four or five old books more or less simultaneously
during the descriptive bibliography course David Ferris and I teach,
so we need a *lot* of Clarkson supports. RBS staff member Ken
Schwartz spent some hours in 1994 and 1995 carefully butchering foam
rubber into the sizes we needed for this course; our total expense
was a tiny fraction of the cost of store-boughten ones, and we got
just the sizes we needed. We have about a hundred sets.

You have to try cutting foam rubber with an electric knife yourself
before you're going to believe how easy it is to do.

We never discovered a source for foam rubber in the dark beige and
hunter green colors used for professionally-made Clarkson supports,
and our home-made products come mostly in either baby blue or light
mustard. To our surprise, they don't get dirty very quickly; when
they do, they can be washed in soap and water.


Terry Belanger
University Professor
University of Virginia
Book Arts Press
114 Alderman Library
Charlottesville, VA  22903
Fax: 804-924-8824

                  Conservation DistList Instance 10:24
                 Distributed: Friday, September 6, 1996
                       Message Id: cdl-10-24-002
Received on Saturday, 31 August, 1996

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