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Subject: Rubber cement

Rubber cement

From: Niccolo Caldararo <caldararo>
Date: Friday, January 28, 2000
This is an answer to the query by Anne Coco and Katie Moran: They
ask about a problem they are having with the removal of rubber
cement on paper.

As Feller and Encke (1982) noted in their study of rubber cement
aging, there were many rubber cements manufactured over time, and
various additives may explain variations in aging which many of us
have found in treatment.  I reported the work done in my laboratory
on rubber cement in Restaurator (v. 13, 1992:1-13).  I have found
that Methylene chloride and alcohols with toluene or xylene in a gel
(CMC) often works on most all rubber cements, but that MEK on a
suction table can also be effective with some residues.  I always
follow such treatment with courses of isopropanol and hydrogen
peroxide (1 to 1) and then 2 % NH3OH in water.  This seems to reduce
staining and effective the texture of the paper in a positive
fashion which may also be explained by the fact that the NH3OH
causes paper fibers to react expanding with moisture opening fibrils
and aiding in the release of residue staining.

This might be the difference between our results and that surface
feature you report. The rubber cement tends to form very hard skins
on paper and the deterioration results in considerable density loss
in the paper as well as transparency in some cases.

Sue Murphy (Book and Paper Group Annual, 1988: pp89-99) reports
success with petroleum benzine or naphtha if it was still tacky,
crusty areas solubilized with ethyl alcohol or acetone and the most
difficult areas with MEK covered with polyester and this resulted in
a film that could be manually removed.  In some cases, the most
difficult, she reports solvent mixtures like those we reported (see
her footnote #3).  I have sometimes resorted to poultices of wheat
starch paste and the application of MEK and a hair dryer (a tip from
Bob Futernick (Robert Futernick. Methods and makeshift The Book and
Paper Group Annual, Volume 3, 1984. Pp. 65-74). Hope this helps.

Niccolo Caldararo
Director and Chief Conservator
Conservation Art Service

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:42
                Distributed: Wednesday, February 2, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-13-42-008
Received on Friday, 28 January, 2000

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