The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 12, Number 7
Nov 1988


To the Editor:

I would like to gather information on methods of decorating paper for endsheets, covers, boxes, etc. Both Pauline Johnson's Creative Bookbinding and Faith Shannon's Paper Pleasures give many methods but they only whet the appetite for more. I would like to ask anyone who has information and would like to share it, to send it to me at One Cottage St., Fifth Floor, Easthampton, MA 01027 (413/ 527-7275). Once I have compiled and sorted through the information I would gladly pass it along to anyone interested.

Peter Geraty

To the Editor:

About four years ago we phase boxed approximately 400 rare volumes using a gray/white barrier board and self-adhesive Velcro velcoins. Since the completion of the project, the Velcro velcoins have experienced a near universal failure rate. This failure seems to result from a combination of causes. Over time the pressure-sensitive adhesive desiccates and the bond weakens, ultimately breaking down completely. The bond between the two Velcro buttons is also usually stronger than the bond between the adhesive and the barrier board. Opening a box frequently results in the button tearing away by itself or with a piece of the harrier hoard's lamination attached.

In an attempt to solve this problem, we have begun to reglue the Velcro buttons with a PVA adhesive. The bond between the button and the board appears to be much stronger, probably due to a deeper penetration of the adhesive into the barrier board. Whether this is a long-term solution is still a matter of conjecture. My particular concern is not the ability of the PVA to survive over time, but the interaction of the PVA and the pressure sensitive adhesive that still remains on the back of the Velcro buttons. Since the original pressure-sensitive adhesive appears to be neither adequate initially nor stable over tine, it would be better to start with a Velcro button that had no adhesive backing at all and apply it initially with a PVA adhesive.

A second solution we have marginally examined is the use of magnetized rubber strips (an idea taken from an article in the Abbey Newsletter). These adequately secure the box closure without having the same overbearing bond between the two magnets that exists between two Velcro buttons, a bond that contributes to their subsequent failure. However, the magnetic strips still rely on a pressure-sensitive adhesive to secure them to the barrier board. The permanence of this bond is as suspect as that of the pressure-sensitive Velcro buttons. I also remain wary of the long-tern permanence of the magnets themselves.

Of the two solutions I have examined, I favor the Velcro buttons if a permanent solution can be achieved that addresses the problem of adhesion to the barrier board.

Peter Jermann
St. Bonaventure University, NY

To the Editor:

In regard to the letter about magnetized rubber strips vs. Velcro buttons, I agree that the problem is not that the adhesive being used is not strong enough, but that Velcro has too strong a grip to be used for this purpose. Since the Velcro buttons are delaminating the board, using a stronger adhesive will not eliminate the problem; it will probably cause deeper delamination.

The advantage of using magnetic strips is that the grip, while sufficient to bold most kinds of boxes closed, is weak enough so that the strips are unlikely to pull off the board due to routine opening and closing of the box.

Magnetic strips are available both with self-adhesive backing, and without any backing. The plain ones can be glued to the board with PVA.

I have found it difficult to get firm information on the permanence of the magnetism in these strips. However,

several people have suggested that using two strips of magnetized rubber (instead of one strip and a strip of metal) might cause the magnets to keep each other magnetized. At worst, it should be easy to replace the magnets on most kinds of boxes, should they lose their magnetism. Also, it may be possible to remagnetize them.

I have been using magnetized rubber strips (both self-adhesive and glued with PVA) for about four years, and none of them have shown any signs of deterioration yet.

Another obvious solution is the familiar button-and-string attachment.

Elaine Schlefer
New York Academy of Medicine

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