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Re: [BKARTS] Ideas to make tree bark flat and more durable?

Hello Ginger,

I use birchbark, maple, cherry, and ash barks in my books - - the
younger the bark, the more flexible (and birch, of course, peels to
paper).  I've found that a good, old-fashioned, overnight soaking in
warm water does wonders to make bark pliable.  Rinse it before
pressing.  It doesn't get soft, of course, so when I press it I pad it
with lots of blotter, newsprint, and even rags to cushion the bark
against the pressure.  I change the blotter and padding every few
hours, gently encourage the bark to a flatter position, and keep it
under weight until it's thoroughly dry.  (If blotter residue sticks to
the bark when you remove it, just dampen the spot and rub it gently
until the residue comes off.)

Taking a lead from the baking-soda-for-bean-soaking tip, I began to add
baking soda to the soaking water, and I do find that it makes the bark
a bit more pliable.  However, I know soda is alkaline, and so may well
introduce set of conservation issues that I'm not equipped to address.
 Does anyone have any thoughts on what effects it may have?

Good luck,

Cara Schlesinger
Faenwyl Bindery

-- Ginger Burrell <gingerrachele@xxxxxxx> wrote:

I recently found some lovely pieces of eucalyptus bark that I'd like to
flatten and use as pages or covers for a book.
Any ideas on the best way to do this? The pieces are currently rather curly
and I'm afraid if I just press them they will crack.
Any other info on using bark in books is appreciated.



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