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Subject: Mold


From: Jack C. Thompson <tcl>
Date: Wednesday, January 6, 1999
Martin Strebel <m.strebel [at] pop__agri__ch> writes

>At present I have an incunabula in my workshop which is unique in
>the world and which is damaged by mould. The last page consists of
>fragments only and as a result of the mould some of the fragments
>stick to the inside of the cover. Is there a way of removing these
>extremely fragile fragments without causing any loss.

First, I would dry the artifact well below what is considered
appropriate for paper or parchment.  The question did not include
information about the support, and incunabula may be on either
parchment or paper, but the query suggests that it may be on paper.

On paper or parchment, at a reduced moisture level, the pieces may
separate themselves from the cover.

If this does not happen, it may be possible to spray alcohol onto a
piece of Mylar and onto the molded fragments, join them together,
and carefully separate the molded fragments from the cover.


If this is indeed the last page of text, and if nothing else works,
consider this.

Remove the back cover (with the molded page of text attached);
remove the leather from the back cover; spray/brush an acrylic
varnish onto a piece of Mylar and while it is still wet press it
onto the moldy page.  When all is dry, put the board/moldy
page/Mylar into a warm bath of water.

All of the water soluble adhesives should give way; the acrylic
varnish/adhesive should remain and permit removal of the moldy

The board can be dried under light pressure and the moldy fragments
can be pasted off to a sheet of paper.  Later, the Mylar can be
removed with a solvent which does not affect the adhesive used to
attach paper to the incunable leaf.

Leaf casting can come in later and in the end, both sides of the
sheet may be seen.

It's easier than it sounds, and I've separated leaves of moldy paper
which seemed to be one solid piece with these methods.

Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Lab.
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, OR  97217
503-735-3942  (voice/fax)

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:57
                 Distributed: Tuesday, January 12, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-57-002
Received on Wednesday, 6 January, 1999

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