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Subject: Leather flight coat

Leather flight coat

From: Yvette Fletcher <lcc<-a>
Date: Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Sue Warren <swarren [at] technomuses__ca> writes

>We have in the collection of the Canada Aviation Museum two
>full-length leather flight coats, probably of British origin, dating
>from the First World War.  Both of these coats are exhibiting severe
>red-rot of the leather on all exterior surfaces, though some of the
>interior surfaces still retain their original dark surface.  I have
>read some recent postings about using Cellugel for deteriorated
>leather, and was wondering if anyone had used it in a similar
>application.  Any suggestions for consolidating  this leather
>without stiffening or discolouring it, would be much appreciated.
>One or both of the coats will be used in an upcoming exhibit.

How severe is the red rot?

Cellugel can be used for consolidating leather surfaces which are
powdery due to red rot.  We usually apply Cellugel, thinned in
isopropyl alcohol to a brushing consistency.

Another option is Pliantex (flexible polyacrylic resin based on
ethyl acrylate), although we are not sure of its availability.  We
believe this is more penetrating but associated materials (eg
linings) could be at risk.

However, these are in no way cure the problem and are simply
palliative treatments, and the red rot will continue unabated under
the consolidated surface.

Any consolidation or other treatment of leather, potentially, and
generally does, alter its appearance in some way (usually darkens).
As usual, test first.  Also make regular checks after treatment to
ensure that the leather is not deteriorating any further.

If you would like any further advice, please contact us direct.

Yvette Fletcher, Senior Conservator and
Aline Angus, Head of Conservation
The Leather Conservation Centre
University Campus
Boughton Green Road
Northampton NN2 7AN
+44 1604 719766

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:5
                  Distributed: Thursday, July 17, 2008
                        Message Id: cdl-22-5-005
Received on Wednesday, 25 June, 2008

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