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Re: Brittle Pages



   Book conservators use a method of de-acidification which includes
washing the individual pages (you have to take the book apart obviously)
in several changes of water at a ph 7.5, with the final bath including a
buffering agent. This has to be done on a frame with piece of polyester
stretched tight to stop the page from flling apart. The water actually
causes the hydrogen bonds between the cellulose molecules (if I'm
remembering the proper terminolgy) to be renewed, making the paper
stronger and more flexible.
   There is a solution you can get to spray on pages called Wei To (sp?)
which deacidifies the paper also, but doesn't "renew" the brittle pages
as the above process does. And, of course, there is a point of "no
return" where the paper is hopeless.
   The bottom line for all this, however, is the intrinsic worth of the
paper -- taking a book apart and washing is is a very expensive process,
and most books made during the period (late 19th cent. onward) where acid
pulps predominated are not worth the effort of washing. Unless it is a
personal momento (Grandma's Bible, whatever).

--
Harmon Seaver
hseaver@nyx.cs.du.edu
    All is impermanent, but this too shall pass away, and the way of the
Samurai is death --- so speak your mind now, or forever hold your peace!


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