APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2004-09 > 1095956306
Subject: Re: Hurricane Ivan tips, trials and tribulations
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2004 12:18:26 -0400 (EDT)
I guess what we have here is an apple and orange issue. My initial post was
regarding what I did on several occasions when I came upon the problem of
water-logged books. Granted, if you have a large library [the Central Library LA
fire in the 1980's, the recent tragedy in Germany, or something that is
extremely expensive that was damaged like the Darwin documents at APS]
that has been damaged, you have to bring in the professionals. If your
insured, or you can afford the out of pocke expense great for you. But what
about if it is only a couple of books? Or you have a high deductible? And
suppose the book value is well below the cost of professional restoration? Your
going to pay about a $100 per foot for books and that is if your talking about a
large library. Small jobs, would actually cost more. So your only choices are to
throw out the books and try to build your library again using the used book
market, or to fix the "salvagable" books yourself (keyword being salvagable)
My post regarded the cheap method [free] of doing it yourself and I must say
that the several books that I did are still on my (personal) shelf and look
good, with no mold, or noticeable deterioration of the paper. How many of us
have a deep freeze mobile unit and drying chamber in our basement? My
guess is none, so if your going to do it yourself, you only have your freezer in
the refrigerator and the oven part of your stove.
One post seemed to think I stated that I do this and resell these books and
I'm setting myself up for lawsuits, but if you recheck the post, I stated that
I "saved" the books, nothing there about reselling them. The only reason I, or
any bookseller, might care to save water-damaged books would be for
personal keeping, since trying to sell water-damaged books is a lot like selling
expensive rice to China. I do not know any bookseller worth his reputation, that
would even buy water-damaged books, let alone try to sell them. If just
wouldn't be worth the time and effort you put into restoring them, cleaning
them, and cataloguing them. It wouldn't matter if the book was rare, because a
serious buyer would be rarer.
I admit I am not a chemist, nor a professionally trained conservator, only a
simple bookseller since about 1987, so my clinical observations only come
from what I have seen and experienced, and not studied or read. But for my
money, if you have a bunch of $15.00 or $20.00 books that have been
damaged are you really ready to spend $100's of dollars to restore them, or
will you do it yourself? My guess is you'll try doing it yourself.
Since you would use the freezer in your refrigerator and not a deep freezer, the
crystalization would be greater and hence drying it out quicker is a good idea,
otherwise you still have a somewhat wet book and mold might still develop. A
300 page book is not going to dry that fast like a single leaf document. You
can't stand there and fan it all day, and if you stand it up on end, your not
going to have that many pages that are going to be open.
On the several occasions I did this method, I dried that out at a very low
temperature for a short period of time, then fanned them out, and set them up
outside. Single leaf documents you wouldn't need to do this with, but if you do
not dry out a 200 or 300 page book, the pages will stick together. Sure, you
can stop the mold without heating in the oven, but what good is the book if you
can't open the pages? Hence drying it out quicker seems to work. I can't
explain it chemically, only that I did it and it worked on that particular book, on
that particular project.
While popular opinion might be against my idea, I would say that it still works
as a cheap method of fixing a problem that involves books of a limited value.
Most conservation/restoration outfits charge for a professional evaluation
before they do any work. If you talking just a couple of books it is not going to
be worth it. On the other hand, if your fully insured, or if someone else is
paying, then by all means, bring in the professionals.