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Subject: Linocut ink

Linocut ink

From: Christine Smith <consartpap>
Date: Monday, April 5, 2004
Jonathan S. Farley <j.farley [at] rbgkew__org__uk> writes

>I have a linocut print dating back to the 1930s which was put into a
>frame in the 1950s. The frame had no matt and perspex instead of
>glass. The ink of the linocut is very heavy and, having been pressed
>against the perspex for so long has stuck quite firmly to it. The
>perspex is deteriorating fairly rapidly and the print needs to be
>removed from it.

You might try setting up a solvent humidification chamber with as
little air space in the set-up as possible, for example
solvent-soaked blotters lying on the bottom of a metal or enamel
tray with the print-Perspex unit suspended about 1.5 cm above on a
screen. Use or make a screen with openings as wide as possible, and
put the back of the print downward. (You might use thin cloth tape
through holes drilled in a wood strainer.) The screen not only keeps
the print above the blotters, but also will support the print if and
when it begins to release from the glazing. Then enclose the chamber
with a sheet of glass, as close as possible above the Perspex. Use
vapor barrier tape to seal the enclosure.

Periodically test for release of the ink, using a sharp-edged piece
of silicone-coated paper as a spatula. (Siliconized polyester film
is usually too flimsy for this purpose.) If and when the ink begins
to release, leave the siliconized paper between the ink and the
Perspex. Gradually work around the sheet and further and further
inward until all areas are freed. In recalcitrant spots, it is
sometimes possible to use Teflon dental floss to separate the print.
(Of course you will have to refresh the solvent after you've opened
the chamber and worked. Remove the print before doing so.)

Be sure to test the Perspex not only for initial sensitivity to the
solvent(s) you choose, but for softening that develops over time.
You mentioned that the ink is soluble in several solvents, but you
may be able to apply the solvents in vapor form without problems.
Observe the set-up frequently, using a head loupe, for any signs of
wicking out into adjacent paper areas.

Inks and paints that have stuck to a glazing for some time often
become compressed into a very different surface texture and color
from free areas of the same media. That's an entirely different
problem and one you may not face. Hope this is of some help,

Christine Smith
Conservation of Art on Paper, Inc.
2805 Mount Vernon Ave.
Alexandria, Va. 22301

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:65
                  Distributed: Thursday, April 8, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-17-65-002
Received on Monday, 5 April, 2004

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