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[BKARTS] Crispy (brittle) pages redux



Thanks to everyone who responded, off list and on, to my earlier inquiry
about repairing the "crispy" pages in the Polish religious book.

I mulled over all the advice I received and the more I looked at the
book the more I was afraid that this paper probably would not take any
water without damage. In the end I just decided to go ahead and use the
heat set tissue. I repaired the tears in the three signatures which were
loose from the book, and guarded all the pages of those signatures with
the heat set tissue. Altogether, it went a lot better than I thought it
would.

It turned out also, that the book was never sewn, but was stapled
together with hundreds of staples through the sigs, and bound in a
manner unfamiliar to me. So, I decided to just sew the three loose sigs
on tapes and reattached them to the textblock with both a hinge made of
the heat set tissue and also by gluing the tapes across the spine. I
also applied PVA with a little methyl cellulose to the entire spine on
top of the old existing mull. (I was afraid to remove the old mull. I
could just envision the paper crumbling in my hands as I scraped the
glue off.) I also added an extended spine liner of linen. Though
somewhat unorthodox, it seems to be holding together quite well, so far.

The endpapers are printed with an image of saints, and a background
design, so I ended up scanning the page and am planning to print it on
an archival paper. I hope that will work. Experiments so far look
promising, and I only need a two inch piece to replace a missing part of
the rear paste down. As for it's being archival, I'm not at all sure
about the inks. But for this purpose, it will suffice.

From here on out the reback and the retouching of the covers should be
a pretty standard procedure.

I hope you are not horrified by my treatment choices. And, I hope I have
not created a nightmare for a future conservator. I'm sure the pages are
only going to further deteriorate and continue to be damaged with
handling. But it's unlikely that this book will go anywhere beyond the
family who owns it, and it's not an irreplaceable book, except to them,
of course. But they want to be able to touch it, so what can you do?

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, and I thank you for
all again for your good advice.

Joycelyn Merchant

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