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Re: [BKARTS] Flattening rolled vellum pages



Hi Carolee,

You need to use moisture to get the vellum to relax.  First, place each item
in a closed container that has a water source in it.  Make sure the water
does not come in direct contact with the velum--you want humidity, not
dampening.  As the velum relaxes, you will be able to flatten it.  A good
way to do this is to build a simple wooden frame larger than the largest
document and use clips (wooden clothes pins, stainless steel bull clams,
plastic clamps) to attach strings from the frame to the document so you can
get an even tension all over (use multiple clamps per side, not just the
corners).  After the document has flattened, then you can mount it in a matt
frame as you would a work on paper.  If this is stored flat, such as in a
portfolio, then the documents are more likely to remain flat.

I'm sure others will have additional details on this process.

Regards,

John MacKrell
---
Ann Arbor, Michigan
(734) 604-0992
See finishing stoves at www.johnmackrell.com





> From: Carolee Harrison <carolee@xxxxxxx>
> Organization: Portland State University
> Reply-To: Book_Arts-L <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2009 10:14:31 -0800
> To: <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: [BKARTS] Flattening rolled vellum pages
> 
> I've been presented with a preservation project that is somewhat out of
> my ken and I'm hoping I can ask for advice from the collective wisdom here..
> 
> My task is to house seven manuscripts dating from the 1400s -- three
> sheets of music, three illuminated pages taken from separate volumes,
> and a document that may be a property deed or some kind of legal
> agreement.  All are written on what I think is vellum of varying
> thicknesses.  The illuminated pages are decorated with gold initials in
> very good condition -- everything is in very good repair, in fact,
> except the more informal deed or letter, which has some tears at the
> edges and is pretty dirty and faded.
> 
> The immediate problem I'm facing, though, is that all of these items
> have been stored rolled-up, and they've curled up tight, possibly
> permanently.  My initial ideas for storing them involved laying them
> flat, but is there any way to get them flat again?  Right now I am
> trying to open them gently under weight but I'm not sure it's having any
> effect.  Would anyone here have any idea how best to flatten these
> vellum pages, or do you think it's best to leave them rolled?
> 
> If anyone has advice for storage of these, as well, I'd appreciate your
> input too!
> 
> Thanks so much!
> Carolee Harrison
> 
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