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Subject: Beva film

Beva film

From: Barbara Appelbaum <aandh>
Date: Sunday, November 15, 1998
I have gotten several off-line responses to my query about Beva and
its smell.  Since I was vague about the problem, I will describe it
more fully. The object is being called a Siberian bear-hunting suit,
but I suspect it is more likely to be for bear bating than hunting,
since I can't imagine anyone could run around the woods in it.  It
consists of leather pants and jacket (and an iron helmet) studded
all over with 1-inch iron nails about 3/4 in. apart. The nails are
held in place by a second layer of leather lining the whole thing
and quilted into place between the nails.  In areas of wear and
flexing, like around the ankles and the crotch, the inside layer of
leather is worn through, so the nails are falling out.  [Those of
you who were at the AIC/APT Symposium on lighting in Williamsburg
will have seen photos of the helmet.]

My thoughts about holding the nails in position are to heat-seal
fabric over the inside where needed. (The stitching and the leather
are too tight and stiff to use any stitching to help secure the
lining.) Such a lining would have to be stiff enough to hold the
hail-heads but flexible enough to conform to the uneven surfaces.
PVA resin heat-seal would never hold well enough, so I thought I'd
try Beva.  I brushed out some PVA resin to size cotton fabric, and
brushed Beva over it.  Getting Beva off, in my experience, creates a
sticky mess, so I wanted to use as little as possible.  Obviously,
reversibility with leather is a real problem as well.

Two weeks after brushing out perhaps a total of 10 inches square, I
can still smell the Beva very strongly, and it does not smell like
toluene or xylene, but one person thought some of the smell might be
benzene, which I would not recognize.  Considering how long the
smell lasts, I would tend to doubt it is the solvents.  I have on
occasion taken backings off painting lined with Beva, and found the
smell overpowering, but I don't remember if I ever had information
as to whether the film or solution was used.

Many thanks to those who sent me responses:  you do not have to be
so shy!

B. Appelbaum

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:44
                Distributed: Tuesday, November 17, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-44-003
Received on Sunday, 15 November, 1998

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