There were sixteen tips presented by twelve speakers in this session, with a very lively question and comment period at the end.
Tip 1: ‘Beading: A Japanese technique used to relax laminated paper’ presented by Betsy Palmer Eldridge.
When two sheets of paper have been pasted together overall, the result is a sheet that is much thicker and stiffer than the two individuals. Ms. Eldridge described her technique of using a string of beads known as ura-suri to soften, relax, and remove cockling from the laminated paper. She forms the beads into a coil, then makes a repeated circular motion with a flat hand. During the Q&A, Rachel Freeman mentioned that marbles or a Japanese printmaking baren work well too.
Tip 2: ‘Quick and Easy Plexi Paste’ presented by Cher Schneider.
Ms. Schneider developed this method for adhering two pieces of Plexiglas together to make mounts. Step 1: Collect Plexi shavings into a glass container. Step 2: Dissolve first in drops of acetone until it gets milky white, then add drops of toluene until it becomes transparent. Do not stir too much. Step 3: Apply to one side of the joint with a glass stir rod, then attach the other piece. Clear excess with a piece of matboard, then with a swab dampened with toluene. Step 4: Cure for 15-20 hours. Step 5: Clean glass tools by popping the dried Plexi paste right off. She does not recommend trying to re-use dried Plexi paste. During the Q&A, John Baty suggested a bake-out to cure the paste.
Tip 3: ‘Alt Training’ by Beth Doyle.
After struggling with the difficulties of providing care and handling training to temporary and permanent staff and students, Beth Doyle of Duke University Libraries figured out that using social media to make short training videos on specific topics is a great way to reach everyone in a timely manner. The instagram videos are 15 seconds and the youtube videos, such as this one, are 2 minutes. If you want to make your own, she recommends using multiple paths to reach the largest audience, exploiting what each platform has to offer, reusing and recycling clips where possible, accepting that what you have is good enough, and keeping it short.
Tip 4: ‘Studio-Lab Weight Sources’ by Stephanie Watkins.
Ms. Watkins reviewed the types of weights that conservators use, with suggestions for how to find or make your own. Because they are by nature heavy, she suggests above all that looking locally or making your own is the most cost-effective, and in the spirit of the meeting, ecologically sound. If you do have to have some weights shipped, she recommends USPS flat weight priority. Items that have been used as weights include magnets, sewing weights, scuba, exercise and fishing weights, car tire balancing weights, glass scraps, paperweights, flat irons, shoe anvils, weights manufactured by conservation suppliers, hand-crafted weights, scrap metal, and heavy items from freecycle. Home-made weight fillings include ball bearings, BB shot, coins, stones, sand, glass, beads and beans. Modifications can include polishing, covering, and adding smooth boards, felts, handles, and fabric. Form follows function, so determine the size and shape needed, then look around to see what is available.
I commented on this tip to add that a friend who sometimes has to travel out of the lab to do conservation work on-site brings empty containers and fills them with water for make-shift weights.
- Approximately 20mL 0.5-1% Methocel A4M (Ms. Pollack reports that Elissa O’Loughlin prefers 1-2% of A15C; and Jim Bernstein prefers a mixture of cellulose ethers or gelatin.)
- 5-10mL isopropanol
- 1g of micro-cellulose powder