Mold, decision to restore, example 2

Images and text by Garry Harrison,
Head, Circulating Collections Conservation,
Indiana University Libraries

Web design by Jake Nadal,
former Head, Preservation Department,
Indiana University Libraries

Despite its appearance, this book required only relatively minor treatment. The case had been damaged by mold, but only the case; the text block was free of the mold and its damage. That being true, disinfection was an easy matter, so the real objective of any treatment was to return the case to a non-objectionable state of appearance. Because the paper of the text block was brittle, disbinding the book and putting it into a new case would have been a last resort measure. We decided to see if we could restore the original. The procedure was as follows:

1. The text block was masked off by placing an oversize sheet of mylar between it and each board. This mylar mask was used throughout most of the procedure. Most of the work was done in the fume hood.

2. The case was cleaned using a dry cleaning sponge.

3. It was then washed with alcohol/water mixture and allowed to dry.

4. The boards were wiped with a slightly diluted mixture of acrylic artist's color and water, followed by rubbing with a dry paper towel to remove any excess, and allowed to dry.

5. The boards were painted with two coats of sanding sealer, each of which was given appropriate drying time.

6. The insides of the boards were misted with alcohol/water mixture and the book was pressed for a day.

7. On removal, the boards were rubbed with steel wool to diminish the gloss of the sealer.

The treatment was successful, and at considerably less expense of time than a new case would have taken. I should note that we are aware it was a great advantage that the cover material of the book was black, which all but eliminated any color matching concerns. It is doubtful that we would have attempted this treatment otherwise.


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