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Subject: Paper impregnated with beeswax

Paper impregnated with beeswax

From: Mary Britton Clouse <mtkages>
Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2001
A local Ukrainian Church brought me a variety of mixed fiber paper
materials (letters, newspapers, programs, etc.) that had been
removed from the cornerstone of their church during a recent
renovation. All the items had been completely impregnated with
beeswax to preserve them in the late 1920's--which actually did a
pretty good job of excluding moisture. The items are very dark amber
in color but when I immersed a small fragment of newsprint in
toluene, it reverted to a relatively  bright and supple paper and
there does not appear to be any damage to any of the media caused by
the wax.

The existing condition of the items has been photographically
recorded. I encouraged the clients to consider just leaving one or
two items with the wax and removing it on the rest but the clients
want to leave the beeswax on most of the items because of the
important part that beeswax plays in their cultural heritage. All
items will be sleeved in polyester and postbound. This leaves me
with some questions:

    Has anyone else encountered paper preserved in this manner?

    What are the longterm consequences of leaving the beeswax on
    paper?

    What adhesives could be safely used for tear repair on the wax
    impregnated paper items?

Mary Britton Clouse
Book and Paper Artifacts, Inc.
2023 Lowry Ave. N
Minneapolis, MN 55411
612-521-9921


                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:4
                  Distributed: Tuesday, June 19, 2001
                        Message Id: cdl-15-4-014
                                  ***
Received on Tuesday, 19 June, 2001

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