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Subject: Pigma micron pens

Pigma micron pens

From: Gali Beiner <galibeiner>
Date: Monday, March 20, 2006
Cathy Mathias <cmathias [at] mun__ca> writes

>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?
>As a conservator working with Memorial University of Newfoundland I
>suggest we think about directly applying the number on the object
>without the barrier layer.

As a conservator who worked with collections differing greatly from
each other, including academic-purpose palaeontology collections, I
would like to say I would not advise direct numbering with ink on
any kind of object. The main problem with direct numbering, other
than its irreversibility, is quite simple: what is considered "a
good cataloguing system" at any one point may be a confusing,
old-fashioned and obstructing system at another. In some of the
collections I worked with, researchers were in the habit of
numbering specimens directly but even academic staff with no
connection to conservation concerns admitted it was far better to be
able to remove a no-longer viable numbers or other writing applied
to objects: They could see for themselves the number of obsolete
numbers on the faces of "their" objects. Even new cataloguing
systems tended to change and evolve quite fast. The result was a
switch to a barrier-layer system.

As for analytical equipment having difficulty with the barrier
layer, I hope the solution I offer is a simple and acceptable one.
If this is really necessary, have the barrier layer, and number,
removed just before analysis and re-apply them afterwards.
Otherwise, worries about the components of nail varnish can be
circumnavigated by not using nail varnish at all, only relatively
"pure" materials such as Paraloid B72 in acetone. Finally,
concerning pens, Rotring cartridge pens are a useful way to avoid
using ink bottles while still applying pure ink rather than a
commercial mixture that is more liable to fade with time. This is
what we have been using at the Pitt Rivers Museum, on barrier layers
of Paraloid B72, and the numbers have so far been holding quite

Gali Beiner
Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:46
                 Distributed: Wednesday, March 22, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-19-46-006
Received on Monday, 20 March, 2006

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