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Re: [BKARTS] Rusted nails in signatures



Rust and rust stain are both iron oxide.  It is possible to remove both
with strong acid (pickling), but this is certainly not good for paper.

Another common treatment is to reduce the oxide with a reducing acid like
oxalic or citric acid.  This might be attempted, but of course it doesn't
actually remove the oxide: it just reduces it to iron metal.  So you have
to wash thoroughly afterwards, perhaps by a vacuum technique, and then
neutralize the paper with something that won't oxidize the remaining
iron.  Perhaps with sodium hydroxide, calcium bicarbonate, or magnesium
carbonate, then wash again, and buffer with excess calcium bicarbonate or
magnesium carbonate.  After this, you need to restore the paper finish by
pressing or sizing or other treatments.

All this washing would not be good for any paper, and I don't think the
iron would be completely removed in any case.  It would almost certainly
leave a residue which would eventually reoxidize and turn brown.  If you
were not careful, this would become a tide mark or at least a brown stain
patch.

All in all, I think it is better to remove what oxide you can from the
surface, and leave the rest alone.  If you do try to remove the rust
stains, try testing on a similar paper first, and be prepared for a long
job.  I guess the upside would be that you could attempt to repair the
staple holes at the same time.

Gavin Stairs
Gavin Stairs Fine Editions
525 Canterbury Road
London, Ontario
Canada   N6G 2N5

telephone: (519) 434-8555.
email: stairs@xxxxxxxxxxxx

Gavin Stairs Fine Editions is a small, computer press specializing in book
design and fine, hand-made books.

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