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About Me

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Tucson, Arizona, United States
I work as Panther Peak Bindery and am a bookbinder, conservator and instructor working outside Tucson, Arizona for individual and institutional clients across the country. I am a two term President of the Guild of Book Workers, was a Fulbright Scholar, taught at North Bennet Street School for over nine years and was the fastest in my middle school class at running up and down a flight of stairs (really!).



Friday, January 27, 2012

Repairing and binding an old newspaper

I decided it's time to actually use the blog!  I've done quite a few interesting projects and think it is time to share some of them.  I have more video ideas to do, but am kind of waiting until I can get a better camera.

This week I finished working on the first issue of The Christian Science Monitor.  It was given to me to make usable again.  Though I don't have a picture of it, it was rolled up.  In fact it looked like it was rolled up the day it came out and never read.  A bit of a challenge, working on a newspaper which has been rolled up since 1908!

Obviously it had issues and challenges.  The main problem was flattening it without causing more problems.  The fold had abraded in the first three pages (it was six pages long).

I flattened it after immersing it in water and washed it a few times to lower the pH of the paper and then sized it to give the paper a bit more body.

Then I encapsulated the pages between two pieces of mylar, an inert plastic. It is floating between the sheets, and can be taken out at any time in the future without damaging the paper.

The advantage of this treatment is the the paper is fully readable, and can be handled without any further damage.

Here is the final product:

The pages in this were sewn together, instead of the more standard use of post screws.  I feel this is more secure and, since all the pages were there, I felt it was more important to make it difficult to separate the pages from each other.

From the pictures, the mylar looks distractingly shiny, but they're not and the paper can be easily read.  Needless to say it was a very fun project in many ways, not the least is working on something that large.

I have a more detailed description of the process used to preserve this newspaper in another blog post: