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Subject: Book with sticky cover

Book with sticky cover

From: James Elwing <elgur<-a>
Date: Thursday, March 10, 2005
Helen McPherson <hmcpherson [at] slv__vic__gov__au> writes

>Conservation staff at the State Library of Victoria have received an
>enquiry re a suitable housing for a book which has a black, high
>gloss cover. ...
>It would appear that a vinyl type of material with a cloth or foam
>backing has been used to cover the boards. The vinyl marks easily
>when handled, and is sticky to the touch. ...
>... The only material which doesn't seem to stick is
>silicone release paper. Although the owner has not handled the book
>very much, a crack has already appeared in the vinyl surface at the
>board joint. ...

I would suggest that the material you are describing, rather than
vinyl, could easily be pyroxylin, (nitrocellulose), which was widely
used variously to fill, impregnate, or coat, bookcloth. As a
bookcloth filler it would be present in the thickness/concentration
necessary to break down on the boards. If it was merely a waterproof
coating for a (starch?) filled cloth, one supposes it could be
selectively removed using appropriate solvents, but thin coatings of
nitrocellulose are relatively stable and very common. Bookcloth was
still being sold as pyroxylin coated less than 20 years ago; similar
material is now described as acrylic coated. I have had this problem
with stationery bindings in archival collections, have had some
success with application of microcrystalline wax, and, as you
report, silicone paper, but did not see either/both as a permanent
solution. If the material is pyroxylin, cold dry storage as used for
nitrate film may be the only solution if retention of the cover is

James Elwing
Conservator, Archives
Powerhouse Museum
PO Box K436
Haymarket NSW1238
Sydney, Australia

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:43
                  Distributed: Monday, March 14, 2005
                       Message Id: cdl-18-43-007
Received on Thursday, 10 March, 2005

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