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Subject: Tobacco leaves

Tobacco leaves

From: Helena Jaeschke <helena.jaeschke>
Date: Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Howard Wellman <wellmanconservation [at] comcast__net> writes

>A client has acquired a "hand" of tobacco leaves (the dried bunch of
>leaves, still attached to the stalk), and wants to display them
>hanging as if still in the drying barn. ...
>
>Does anyone have suggestions for consolidating or otherwise
>stabilizing what is basically an intact dried botanical specimen
>that is going to be displayed with no other modifications?

We've found Paraloid (Acryloid) B72 (copolymer of ethyl methacrylate
and methyl acrylate) in acetone works well with very desiccated and
fragile organic material including plant and animal remains and have
used it to consolidate ancient Egyptian items. For very fragile
items we have allowed the solution to be absorbed into the material
from the tip of a pipette or an artist's brush. The item is then
allowed to dry in a sealed container to increase diffusion and
prevent darkening of the surface. Repeated applications may be
necessary.  The item is at its most fragile when the consolidant and
solution have just been applied, and should not be moved at that
stage. The item will be very flexible just after the surface is
touch dry, while the solvent is still present in the body of the
material and misshapen areas may be gently returned to their
original shape at this point.

Don't forget that nicotine is extremely dangerous if absorbed into
the blood stream--some may dissolve if excess solvent is in contact
with the leaf for long periods.

Helena Jaeschke
Conservation Development Officer
+44 1392 665951
Royal Albert Memorial Museum
Queen Street
Exeter EX4 3RX


                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:34
                Distributed: Thursday, February 2, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-19-34-006
                                  ***
Received on Wednesday, 11 January, 2006

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