Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Beeswax and needlework

Beeswax and needlework

From: Soren Ibsen <soren.ibsen>
Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Rachel Kennedy <rachel-kennedy [at] cis-gw__tamu__edu>, in a message posted
by Emily Jacobson <ejacobson [at] ushmm__org> writes

>    I am a member of Embroiderer's Guild of America and I'm doing
>    research involving  needlework conservation.  I know that
>    beeswax is frequently used to wax sewing threads for various
>    reasons and I'm wondering what affect, if any, this has on the
>    condition of the piece in later years. Also, if beeswax were
>    softened (by melting it and adding a small amount of oil before
>    re-hardening) is there a particular oil that would be safe for
>    this purpose from a conservation standpoint?

Linen thread used for bookbinding or restoration of books have been
waxed with beeswax. It makes the thread more flexible during the
sewing operation.  I also used beeswax until a chemist told me not
to use it, because it is food for microorganisms.  So I stop it,
until a textile conservator told me that it is safe to use.  That is
probably true, because microorganisms first start to work when the
relative humidity goes over 70%.  I also think that clean unbleached
beeswax without any additives is the best choice for waxing the

Soren Ibsen
University Library of Trondheim

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:60
                 Distributed: Wednesday, March 17, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-17-60-003
Received on Wednesday, 17 March, 2004

[Search all CoOL documents]