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fountain of youth?



  This discussion of various ways of sealing leather raises a couple
questions in my mind.  First of all, it carries a trade off, as most
things do, in that the present advantages of lustre and stain resistance
may be at the cost of the long term life of the leather.  Many polishes
carry agents that dry out the leather over time, increasing the chances
for cracking, flaking and dulling.  Granted, in some cases the short
term is all that matters.  Given the paper and the quality of materials
some books have only a short life and no long term planning is required.
In other cases, old is just old, not rare, and all that is needed is one
more exhibit before the binding is chopped and the text goes to be
filmed, scanned, or whatever. Or it needs to look nice for the party.
  However, in the case of a well made book (i.e. good materials, and
well crafted binding) the larger question, for me, is why try to keep it
new forever?  Yes, a much handled book will look it.  Old faces have
wrinkles. Do you want the wrinkles to be the surface cracks and splits
from layers of drying polish or the creases and patina of much handling?
Neither book will look "new", but I can tell you which will be easier to
repair. And which I'd rather have.

  Dorothy Africa

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