TREATMENT on the Great Parchment Book

Part 3

Tension drying

Magnet drying is proving to be the most effective method for holding out the creases whilst drying. Metal sheets are wrapped in thin blotter and covered with thin non-woven polyester (which reduces the risk of the parchment sticking). Magnets wrapped in felt or Tyvek® are used to hold open creases whilst the parchment dries. It was found fairly early on that the amount of shrinking present on some of the sheets was preventing the creases from being pulled out horizontally. This was remedied by inserting polyester wadding underneath the creased area and so pushing it out in a vertical direction, as well as pulling horizontally with the magnets.

The edges of the parchment are held down with magnets

The edges of the parchment are held down with magnets

Tears can also be secured with magnets

Tears can also be secured with magnets

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TREATMENT on the Great Parchment Book

Part 2

Testing of inks

Prior to humidification, the Inks were tested for solubility in water and also for the presence of any metals within the ink. The inks were found non-soluble in water and, for the most part, no presence of metals was detected.

Humidification

The sheets of parchment are placed in a humidification ‘sandwich’, where they are layered up with Gore-Tex® and damp blotter (see diagram below) and left to gently humidify for approximately six hours.

Cross section of humidification set-up

Cross section of humidification set-up

Small ‘humidity packs’, made by wrapping Laponite® (a synthetic layered silicate) in thin non-woven polyester and then Tyvek® (a brand of flash spun high-density polyethylene fibres), can be placed in the sandwich over the shrunken areas to increase the humidity reaching these areas and therefore increase the softening.

Humidity packs placed over shrunken areas

Humidity packs placed over shrunken areas