Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Damage caused by silverfish

Damage caused by silverfish

From: Lorraine Finch <l.finch>
Date: Tuesday, March 30, 1999
Richard Mulholland <richard.mulholland [at] unn__ac__uk> writes

>I am currently working on an early 19th century English picturesque
>etching which has suffered quite serious silverfish damage around
>the edges of the image. The grazing is considerably distracting to
>the eye and it was decided that repair and toning of those areas
>affected should take place if possible. I would like to know if
>anyone has had experience in using pulp infill/leaf casting to
>repair silverfish damage on paper, whether either leaf casting or
>pulp would be effective and what alternatives might be available.

Leafcasting should work very well with damage such as this. Although
I have no experience of using leafcasting to repair damage by
silverfish I have used it to repair damage by mould and carpet
beetle on early C19th manuscripts. It is quick and easy (once you
have mastered the technique!). It also provides a sympathetic
repair. In other words the leafcast area feels smooth, it doesn't
usually create tensions between the repaired area and the original
object and there is little difference in the surface level of the
repair and the object ( you can't feel where one begins and the
other finishes). The repair is strong, easily reversible and the
pulp only fills in the areas of loss (if you calculate the pulp
correctly!). The leafcast area can be sized and overpainted if

You state in your message that you wish to tone the paper. I'm not
quite sure if you mean that you wish to overpaint it to fill in
missing image or if you wish to tone it to match the colour of the
original paper. If the latter is the case you may not need to tone
the leafcast area. If you select paper/s of a suitable tone to make
the pulp with, it will match the tone of the original object when

The papers I use  for leafcasting are Griffen Mill hand made papers.
(Griffen Mill, The Old Mill, Croscombe, Nr. Wells., Somerset,
England, BA5 3QN.) These papers are sold under the names of Dover,
Unicorn, Merlin, Mandrill, Edinburgh, Cotton Linters, Oryx, Lynx and
Phoenix. (Do *not* use Bodleian because it has a very strong
contraction when it dries and will cause your object to cockle.)
These papers are made of either 100% or a mixture of cotton linters,
manila and hemp. They are toned using ICI colours. They have
magnesium hydrogen carbonate, kymene (for wet strength) and aquapel
(as a size) added.

Three stages are involved in the preparation of these papers for

If you need information on the leafcasting procedure please contact
me directly. Hope this is useful,

Lorraine Finch
Paper Conservator

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:77
                 Distributed: Wednesday, March 31, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-77-010
Received on Tuesday, 30 March, 1999

[Search all CoOL documents]