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Subject: Removing adhesive from leather

Removing adhesive from leather

From: John Benson <jemiljan>
Date: Wednesday, June 17, 1998
Nancy R. Robertson <nrrobert [at] libofmich__lib__mi__us> writes

>... I am writing to solicit advice regarding a recent mishap with a
>fine leather binding. Foil backed labels were mistakenly applied to
>the spines of a two volume set, and although the mistake was
>discovered relatively promptly and the labels were carefully peeled
>off, some sticky residue remains on the spines. What would anyone
>suggest as a safe method for removing the residue, and/or should I
>just leave the residue on the leather?

*If* the grain of the leather is good, and the adhesive fresh, you
can sometimes manually remove the label, and clean up the stickiness
with a crepe eraser.

I have used Klucel G in a very thick poultice form to successfully
remove all sorts of tape and adhesives off of leather.  Klucel can
be made up with the desired solvent- as always, test first!  I have
also used klucel prepared for leather consolidation, and just added
additional different solvents as needed.  It sounds as though this
happened recently- if so, test on the particular type of label used
and see what solubulizes the adhesive.  apply a little bit with a
cotton swab, wait and watch.  Swab off a little adhesive at a a
time, reapplying a little poultice, repeat.  Be very careful when
you get to the grain layer.  too much poultice or a runny one can
stains or other problems such as driving the adhesive into the grain
even further. This can work very well though, and I have even used
it on an old suede account book that had tape all over it.

Klucel restricts the capillary action of the solvent, preventing
bleeding and staining.  It is also very clear, allowing you to see
what you are working on.  I have used this same method in some cases
as an alternative to Fullers Earth and Methyl Cellulose poultices on
paper, again when I want to be able to see what is going on.

Incidentally, I have also used Klucel in Ethanol when there are
gelatin backed coated paper labels on leather.  Once the label has
been wetted out with the Klucel, following it with a little Methyl
cell in Water- remove it quickly!

Jake Benson
Assistant Conservator
Etherington Conservation Center

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:4
                  Distributed: Thursday, June 18, 1998
                        Message Id: cdl-12-4-017
Received on Wednesday, 17 June, 1998

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