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Subject: Boxes and PVA

Boxes and PVA

From: Martin Strebel <m.strebel>
Date: Monday, January 11, 1999
Some years ago in our workshop, we stopped making boxes with PVA for
books which left our conservation workshop, because of the acid
hydrolysis problem creating after twenty to forty years probably an
acid environment within the box.

We switched to corrugated boxes which are made without glue and
metal parts. In a discussion with Stuart Welsh from Conservation by
Design Ltd. in Bedford, England, Stuart told me about the serious
disadvantages of corrugated archival boxes.

    1.  The corrugated board is hollow and prone to microorganism
        which find in the dark an ideal place to breed.

    2.  In case of a fire the hollow parts of corrugated board
        containing air could accelerate the fire through a chimney

    3.  In case of a flood corrugated boxes will quickly fall in
        pieces.  Boxes made of solid board are, even after a being
        flooded, still solid enough to move without problems.

I had the latter experience in 1996 after a local archive was
flooded completely. Can anybody tell me about his experience with
corrugated archival boxes in connection with the problems of
microorganism, fire and floods?

I have bought a new synthetic glue which was developed on the
initiative of Stuart Welsh it is called "Evacon R". Stuart told me
that after the aging test Evacon was not subject to the acid
hydrolysis unlike the other PVA. I am now using Evacon for rare
occasions when we need a little PVA, but not for boxmaking. I feel
the risk after all is to high and will not to go back to boxmaking
with PVA.

Martin Strebel
Atelier fur Buch- und Papierrestaurierung
Bahnhofstrasse 15
CH-5502 Hunzenschwil
+41 62 897 39 70
Fax: +41 62 897 00 46

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:57
                 Distributed: Tuesday, January 12, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-57-019
Received on Monday, 11 January, 1999

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