Volume 12, Number 1, Jan. 1990, pp.15-18

Technical Exchange

Walter Henry, column editor

Health and Safety Consultants

Those who have not yet had the pleasure of attempting to comply with OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (Employee "Right to Know" Law) may be interested to know of the services offered by two companies working together to make the process less odious. Rager Group Inc. offers a comprehensive Hazard Communication Program to help businesses comply with all five major requirements of the Regulation. Their program includes step-by- step instructions for complete program implementation, documentation, and employee training. COMCO Safety Services provides professional full service consulting in all areas of Safety and Health Management, and recently assisted the L.A. Museum of Natural History and the Nevada Department of Museums and History in complying with this law.

They point out that there are some concrete benefits that accompany compliance with the law (beside the obvious one of being a good citizen with no outstanding warrants), among them cost reductions and decreases in civil and criminal liability.

Rager Group Inc.
(619) 693-7535
COMCO Safety Services
(213) 420-9195

18th Century Gold on Ormolu

Bradywicks [709 E. Gutierrez, Santa Barbara, CA 93103 (805) 963- 0320] writes of several interesting techniques they have been working with.

They have developed a method of replicating 18th Century Gold on Ormolu. The hardware is cleaned by Brite-dipping to evenly remove whatever foreign material is on the surface. The hardware is polished, then silver-plated. It is gold-plated over the silverplate and polished again to highlight desired areas. The hardware is gold-plated once again. The entire surface is sealed with Acryloid B-48N and waxed with green wax. On another front, Bradywicks has found unwaxed dental floss helpful in cleaning imbedded dirt in cracks on a jade vase.

They also point to the microwave oven as a useful tool for melting small quantities of glue size, gesso and bole for gilding restoration.

Basket Repair Technique

While working under the supervision of Bettina Raphael on an NSF grant for the conservation treatment of organic artifacts from the Museum of New Mexico's Laboratory of Anthropology, I devised a method for creating substitute "twigs" for repairing certain Native southwestern baskets. I was working on the stabilization of a number of Hopi wicker basket trays. The warp elements of the baskets, which radiate out from the center, turn at right angles to form the rim of the basket. They are often broken at this turn, leaving the coil-wrapped rim detached from the body of the basket. In an effort to find a material which would be strong enough to recreate this original juncture and also retain the original material's pliability and texture, I wrapped strips of Japanese tissue around fine stainless steel wire (obtained from a jeweler's supply company). The result looks a bit like a florist's wire. I then coated the "twig" with PVA resin in order to make it a bit more resistant to moisture. After using the new element to replace broken originals in the basket, I inpainted it with acrylic resin paints. (In some cases it might be better to inpaint the replacements before making a repair with it.) If you have questions about this techniques, contact me at the Museum of New Mexico Conservation Lab.

Molly Mehaffy
Museum of New Mexico Conservation Lab
P.O. Box 2087
Santa Fe, NM 87504 (505) 827-8350

A Practical Hint for Paper Conservators

Problem: Removal of animal glue from paper surface or from sensitive media, especially watercolors (for example, where a window mat has been adhered to the front margins and/or the image area of an artwork.

Method: Use a steamer and Japanese tissue. First cut strips of medium weight Japanese tissue and protect surrounding areas of artwork with blotters. Steam the glue-covered area until slightly tacky, then place tissue strip on top. Steam again until the glue dissolves and penetrates the tissue. Use a flat instrument (or a finger if you can stand some heat) to ensure overall contact of tissue and glue. This way the glue almost immediately saturates the tissue without sinking into the paper underneath. Remove the tissue and repeat the process several times. Towards the end, use thinner tissue to remove the glue remains. Let the area dry out between application if the paper/media become too moist. Glue might otherwise be absorbed into the artwork instead of the tissue. During a number of applications this method has proved thorough and safe for the artwork.

P.S.: If anyone knows a new source for horizontal steamers (like the Osrow Steamstress, which is no longer being made), please place a note in the Newsletter or contact me.

Irene Brückle
c/o Christa Gaehde
55 Falmouth Rd. Arlington, MA 02174

Ultraviolet Dichroic Filter

Those who have installed tungsten-halogen lighting instruments in their exhibition spaces will be interested in the following announcement from Conservation Materials Ltd:

We are pleased to be able to offer the Bausch & Lomb Ultraviolet Dichroic Filter for conservation applications. This highly efficient filter is available in the 2 inch diameter size which is ideal for use with filter holders in the many fixtures that utilize the popular MR-16 tungsten-halogen lamp. Museum professionals have only recently become aware that this bulb emits substantial quantities of ultraviolet light, even though it is an incandescent type lamp.

The Bausch and Lomb Ultraviolet Dichroic Filter (UDF) blocks 99% of the ultraviolet (UV) energy below the wavelength of 410+/-10 nanometers. Its visible light transmission exceeds 80% and yields an average color rendering of 99%. As opposed to an absorbance type filter which traps the UV energy in the filter element itself with resultant heat build-up, discoloration and opacity in the filter element, this dichroic filter reflects the UV energy back into the lamp where it is dissipated as heat energy. Dichroic filters perform at optimum efficiency throughout their life without the slow loss of performance characteristic of the absorbance type filters.

The Bausch and Lomb Ultraviolet Dichroic Filter is constructed of rugged borosilicate (Pyrex type) glass coated with metal oxide films. This filter can be cleaned with ordinary glass cleaners without damage to the metal oxide films. Its borosilicate glass is highly resistant to cracking or heat damage.

Use of the Bausch and Lomb UDF allows you to increase the light level without causing an increase in photochemical degradation. The high color rendering capability of this filter allows art objects and artifacts to be viewed using the design attributes of the light source.

We currently have these UV filters in stock and they are available for immediate shipment.

Conservation Materials Ltd., 1165 Marietta Way, Sparks, NV
89431, (702) 331-0582

Post-It Notes

In the July issue of The Abbey Newsletter (Vol 13, no. 4: p. 65), Ellen McCrady summarizes the results of National Archives and Records Administration research into the effects of two brands of removable adhesive-backed notes. This research was reported in the Conference of Inter-Mountain Archivists Newsletter, January, 1989. Because this information will have important consequences outside the book and paper community (and in an effort to see just how deeply nested a citation we can build on this item), Ellen's article is reprinted here [with permission].

Removable Self-Stick Notes

The lab has examined two brands of removable self-stick notes, including 3M Scotch Post-it Notes and AMB brand Attention Note Pads. Although the two brands of notes employ different adhesives, the test results were similar. Adhesive remained on sheets to which the notes were adhered after aging two weeks at 80°. C, 65% RH. Evidence of adhesive was found even when the notes were applied to sheets and removed immediately.

It is also important to note that while neither adhesive lifted electrostatic images when removed immediately from typical electrostatic copies, both lifted the image when removed after aging two weeks at 80°. C, 65% RH.

In addition to adhesive transfer, NARA chemists noted that some colors of the notes tended to run when wet and that some of the papers tested contain lignin and alum-rosin sizing.

On the basis of these findings, the National Archives recommends that no removable self-stick notes be used on any paper records that have permanent value.


Jim Robertson, Western Archaeological Conservation Center, reports that his multi-task conservation data base for objects has now been enhanced to facilitate switching between data bases. As reported on at the Cincinnati AIC meeting, Jim is making this program available to anyone who is interested for no charge. One must have an IBM PC, or something compatible, with at least a 20 meg hard disk. Those interested may contact him in care of: NPS/WACC; P.O. 41058; Tucson, AZ 85717.


Does anyone know:

I am interested in finding out if any objects conservator has ever come across a soluble iridescent layer on Louis Comfort Tiffany favrile wares, particularly his amber favrile ware. If you have, I would appreciate your contacting me so we may exchange information. I can be contacted at: The Indianapolis Museum of Art; 1200 West 38th St.; Indianapolis, IN 46208; (371) 923-1331.

Helene Gillette, Objects Conservator

Carmen Erickson, assistant at Fraser Giffords Art Conservators, would appreciate receiving information from anyone who might have come across rosemary leaves trapped behind the canvas and bottom stretcher bars. She would like to know the approximate age of the painting and its provenance if possible. Please send information to her: c/o Fraser Giffords Art Conservators; 2859 N. Soldier Trail; Tucson, AZ 85749.

Lorraine Daley Jones, conservator with the Arizona Historical Society requests copies of written policies for conservation that other museums have implemented. She asks that they be mailed to her at: Arizona Historical Society; 949 E. 2nd Street; Tucson, AZ 85719.

The Featured Catalogue

Amassing huge stacks of catalogues is a nasty business. It eats up desk space, shelf space, free time, and probably, if the truth were known, appreciable portions of available cerebral terrain. Nevertheless, most of us do it and despite our better instincts, will probably continue to do it until we retire and someone fresh comes along and deposits the whole lot in the nearest dumpster. To support this questionable habit, we are instituting a new feature in this column, the Featured Catalogue, a Neato, Must- Have, If-You-Get-Just-One-Catalogue-This-Month sort of affair that will feed the habit and justify at least a bit of the clutter in my office. This month's swell tidbit is the catalogue of:

Biomedical Research Instruments, Inc.
12264 Wilkins Avenue
Rockville, Maryland 20852
Toll Free: (800) 327-9498

This 124 page beauty displays a lovely array of stainless steel surgical and dissecting tools designed for researchers in animal and experimental surgery and is not quite as disgusting as many other surgical catalogues. Among the goodies are some very tempting micro dissecting instruments and a good selection of micro scissors with prices high enough to inspire a bit of creative prose in the Justifications section of your equipment budget request.

Walter Henry, Conservator
Technical Exchange Column Editor

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