Conservation Case Study -
Auto Parts Catalogue
By Conservation Technician Mark Anderson
A number of documents in the George Shepherd
Library of the Western Development Museum are machinery parts catalogues
used in machine shops for decades. Many are covered in soot from the exhaust
of vehicles. To enable the library to use these resources, the layers of
soot must be removed without damaging the underlying paper substrate. A
system of removing the soot was developed and is outlined here.
Click on photos for larger images.
covers the front and back edges of the booklet and a number of the pages.
The acidic nature of the soot is breaking down the paper.
soot also transfers onto anything the booklet comes into contact with.
inside pages have soot along the edges. The binder ring holes have
discoloured each page.
first step in removing the soot was to brush off the loose soot, page by
page. Small brush strokes were used to prevent scratching the surface with
discernible outline of the booklet was left behind on the blotting paper.
The paper was changed frequently to prevent transferring the removed soot
back onto the document.
a document cleaning sponge, each page was cleaned with small strokes to
remove more of the loose soot.
After each page of the document was cleaned with the sponge, eraser crumbs were used to remove ingrained stains on the pages. Using small circular motions, the entire booklet was cleaned with the small granular crumbs.
the crumbs were used they became discoloured. The document was then brushed
again to remove the crumbs.
cleaned document was given a final brushing to remove any remaining loose
of the booklet with all of the soot removed.
of the booklet with all of the loose soot removed. Some staining is still
present but is the booklet is much more stable than before. The booklet is
now ready for return to the library.