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Subject: Soluble nylon

Soluble nylon

From: Ellen McCrady <abbeypub>
Date: Saturday, June 16, 2001
Peter N. Krantz <bkfndrs [at] ozemail__com__au> writes

>Our question:  Is this substance still considered of suitable
>conservation-standard, as an adhesive and resizing agent?

Catherine Sease reviewed the use of soluble nylon in Studies in
Conservation, 26: 102-110, 1981.  Her paper was, "The Case Against
Using Soluble Nylon in Conservation Work."

I had been using soluble nylon at that time in my bindery, but when
I read her review, I dropped it, and in November 1981 I put a notice
on the front page of the Abbey Newsletter, entitled "Soluble Nylon
Reevaluated."  It said, "Over the years, individual conservators
have been having various kinds of trouble with soluble nylon: it
turned dark, shrank, peeled off, and became stiff and insoluble as
it aged.  A good number of articles have appeared documenting these
experiences, but since they appeared singly, the material continued
to enjoy an undeserved good reputation.  Now someone has drawn all
the evidence together in an article that will be reviewed in the
next issue of this Newsletter."

My review actually appeared two months later, on the front page of
the February 1982 issue.  It quotes two of the author's paragraphs,
including one in which she said, "Experience with a large number of
objects made of widely differing materials that were treated with
soluble nylon as long ago as the late 1950s and early 1960s has
shown that, without exception, all of them exhibited the same
problems:  1) the film had attracted dirt and dust, badly
discoloring the objects and obscuring painted decoration; 2) the
film was not matt; 3) the film had exerted strong contractile
forces, peeling off the surface of the object with it; 4) the film
was no longer flexible; and 5) the film was insoluble."

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:4
                  Distributed: Tuesday, June 19, 2001
                        Message Id: cdl-15-4-003
Received on Saturday, 16 June, 2001

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