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Subject: Removing wax linings

Removing wax linings

From: Hans-Christoph von Imhoff <xoph>
Date: Thursday, February 17, 2000
Karen Lenk <klenk [at] tpl__toronto__on__ca> writes

>Has anyone had experience removing old linings applied with wax?

I have removed old wax-resin and (probably) early BEVA linings on
the activated low pressure table, removing the lining canvas--where
possible--mechanically (it was so every of the 5 times), by folding
it over a 180 deg. and pulling it off parallel to the original, with
no major effort--be it  as a whole (particularly if the relining
material was glass fiber cloth) or in squares. To then take off the
wax, wax resin or similar relining mixtures

I used trichlorethylene soaked blotting paper (to just not drip); if
the consistence of relining mixture became too sticky, I soaked
lintless WEBRIL (R)  Handi-pads (peregrin brushes, San Diego) or
similar, placed on the relining material's surface. I then placed a
35-40 deg. C warm spatula or small iron on it, for a short  period
only, as the effect is immediate, the wax gets sucked into the pad.
With up to three repetitive interventions the result was
unbelievable--visually and even on touching there was no wax or wax
relining material left. I don't claim it had all gone, but according
to the eye, the touch and the regained movability of the original
canvas a very high percentage had been removed. I could not observe
any (visual) changes on the paint layer nor--in those cases
where the painting was varnished--on the varnish. I worked fast and
did not stop until all was taken off--no coffee breaks--but masks!

One has do develop a technique to place the pads in ways that at the
end of the treatment there will be no marks of  their edges left, as
some of the degradation products of the original support, degraded
pieces of fibres, dirt, etc. can come off with the waxy relining
material.  I also tried mixtures of Trichlorethylene with
Testbenzines/Shellsols, but there seemed no advantage, especially as
the evaporation phase i.e. the impact of the solvents, lasted much

Hans-Christoph von Imhoff
Conservateur-restaurateur CR-SCR, FIIC, PA-AIC
Lorette 28
CH - 1700 Fribourg / Suisse
+41 26 321 14 44
Fax: +41 26 321 14 40

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:45
                 Distributed: Friday, February 25, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-13-45-004
Received on Thursday, 17 February, 2000

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