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Subject: Puzzle


From: Niccolo Caldararo <caldararo>
Date: Friday, June 25, 1999
This is in reference to Ron Stark's request for information
regarding the conservation of a puzzle.  Ron asked about
deacidifying the puzzle and how to mount it.  In my experience with
the paper board these objects are manufactured from, similar to game
boards and baseball cards, they vary in stability based on content,
but that in most cases no deacidification seems appropriate or
necessary.  This is particularly true with baseball cards, which are
constructed from a heavily treated paper stock during manufacture.
Most game boards and puzzles share such treatment which may include
waxes and resins.

Since you have not included information on which you based your
decision to deacidify, I would have to ask what is the pH of the
paper? and what is the condition of the board?

To the issue of mounting, one must keep in mind that delamination is
always a factor in adhesion failure and applying pastes like wheat
starch to such laminate boards can result in such failure. One must
consider consolidation and then the application of an adhesive to an
appropriate mount.  The weight of the individual pieces can be
distributed by the interlocking design, but to arrive at a perfect
plane in total can only result in the use of a mount which is rigid
in relation to the entire puzzle weight and will not deform in
reaction to the adhesive.  A multi-ply acid-free board might be
appealing as such a mount, but directly mounting such an object to
the board would make reversing the treatment difficult or impossible
without damage.  Thus a more flexible approach might be to use BEVA
and a canvas mount on a strainer.

Of course, the important consideration here is the consolidant for
the puzzle pieces being compatible with the BEVA.  The other
variable is the fact that some puzzle faces are composed of
materials which are heat and solvent sensitive, thus this treatment
would require extensive testing prior to assembly.  If you would
like to discuss my experimental results with similar objects off
list, a solution might be devised after test results were available.

Niccolo Caldararo
Director and Chief Conservator
Conservation Art Service

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:4
                   Distributed: Friday, June 25, 1999
                        Message Id: cdl-13-4-005
Received on Friday, 25 June, 1999

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