Posted by: kbenoy | November 14, 2012

Mander Ledger: Conservation 1

This week I’m going to tell you about the conservation work that has recently taken place to restore the Samuel Small Mander Trust Ledger to a usable state. This volume had been stored in damp conditions for a number of years before being deposited at Wolverhampton City Archives as part of the Smith Son & Wilkie collection.

The volume before any conservation work

The water damage caused the spine to degrade and the index section at the front of the volume to become weakened with the paper very soft to the touch.

The water damaged index of the volume

Jon, the Conservator started by taking the volume apart and then treating the damaged front pages with a process called sizing. Paper naturally contains gelatine but the damp conditions had caused the gelatine to be washed from the paper leaving it lacking strength. The process of sizing involves adding gelatine to the sheets to restrengthen the paper.

Sizing the water damaged paper by adding gelatine

Jon brushed a gelatine solution over the damaged sheets and left them out to dry. Once the pages were dry they had become much stronger and less fluffy.

The next stage in preparing the volume for rebinding was to remove the remaining stitching from the less damaged sections. The stitching was degraded and could just be pulled away from the sheets.

Jon removing the old binding

The last stage before the volume could be resewn was to make new end papers that would go in the front and back of the volume and attach the text block to the cover.

Making the new end papers

The end papers were cut out of paper of a similar weight to the original papers and were made oversize so they could be cut to the exact size after binding.

Next week I will explain how Jon sewed the sections together to rebind the book.

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