The Book and Paper Group
The American Institute for Conservation

Paper Splitting: A Paper Strengthening Process

by Jana Dambrogio and Irene Brückle

Presented at the Book & Paper Group Session, AIC 28th Annual Meeting, June 8-13, 2000, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Received for publication Fall 2000.


Paper splitting is a paper strengthening process known since the nineteenth century. It was originally used by restorers to separate recto and verso of double-sided prints or drawings. Today, it offers sophisticated treatment methods employed for the strengthening of weakened paper. During the past thirty years paper splitting was developed as a mass treatment at the university libraries in Jena and at the Deutsche Bücherrei in Leipzig. The process is now available commercially at the Zentrum für Bucherhaltung, also located in Leipzig. The history of paper splitting is outlined and the contemporary process is described from first-hand observations and from interviews with the conservators at Leipzig and Jena. The authors document their observations on selected papers that were strengthened through the paper splitting process.

The history of paper splitting and a detailed description of the modern splitting process appeared under the title "Paper Splitting: History and Modern Technology" in the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 39.3 (Fall/Winter 2000). It includes a review of technical evaluations of the process and presents observations on three artifacts which were strengthened by splitting to improve their physical stability. A bibliography on the subject appears on the website of Buffalo State College's Art Conservation Department under "Web-Accessible Projects": <>.

Jana Dambrogio
Art Conservation Department
State University College at Buffalo

Irene Brückle
Art Conservation Department
State University College at Buffalo

Publication History

Received: Fall 2000

Paper delivered at the Book and Paper specialty group session, AIC 28th Annual Meeting, 8-13, 2000, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Papers for the specialty group session are selected by committee, based on abstracts and there has been no further peer review. Papers are received by the compiler in the Fall following the meeting and the author is welcome to make revisions, minor or major.