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Subject: Pigma micron pens

Pigma micron pens

From: Gillian Noseworthy <gillian>
Date: Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Dee A. Stubbs-Lee <dee.stubbs-lee [at] nbm-mnb__ca> writes

>What is the current opinion among conservators on the list about the
>possibility of using the "Pigma Micron" pens (manufactured by
>Sakura) in place of India ink for artifact numbering?

We've been experimenting with different inks and different barrier
layers to find ones that are easy to obtain and use.  We tried the
Micron Pigma Pens from Sakura, but found in most cases that the ink
bled and/or vanished entirely under B72 (in acetone).  We also tried
a water-based barrier (artist's acrylic medium) and found this
worked, but we have not conducted tests on the long-term stability
of this.  A quick humidity test resulted in cloudiness of the film,
but not consistently in all cases.  Thus far, the most reliable has
been India ink and B72. Another barrier that we've used on occasion
is "airplane dope" or hobby glue, for model airplanes.  Solvent is
xylene, so it will also dissolve many pigment pen inks, as well as
giving one a terrible headache after a while unless you work under
fume extraction. India ink works best, but the Staedler/Mars
technical pens (available for about $5 from Staples) work well too.

That said, despite any recommendations we have, just about all the
student assistants for the researchers here are labelling their
materials with pigment pens/markers of one sort or another, and
regular nail polish.  On occasion, with the combination of
uncontrolled storage conditions and either dirty, crumbling artifact
surfaces (or smooth, hard surfaces), the nail polish tends to peel
from the surface of the artifact, taking the number with it.  This
is why we've been trying to find a combination that is easy for them
to obtain and use. We intend to keep experimenting with pens and
barrier layers until we find a combination that works for everyone.

Gillian Noseworthy
Archaeology Curator, Queen's College
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, NL A1C 5S7
709-737-7679


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                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:43
                  Distributed: Monday, March 13, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-19-43-007
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Received on Tuesday, 21 February, 2006

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