Our colleagues at Facilities & Services recently cut a large sheet of plexi to fit the Conservation Lab’s washing sink, so we can use the sink as a large humidity chamber. The sink’s inner basin measures 65″ x 42″ x 6″, which allows for quite a bit of room. The plexi cover is fairly thin (3/16″ thick) to be more easily maneuverable, and we have found that weighting the corners ensures a tight seal. We’ve cut light diffusers and wire mesh into modular panels for lining the bottom of the sink evenly, and one large sheet of Remay creates a seamless covering material on which items to be humidified can be laid out.
Last week, a water-damaged book with severely cockled pages and mildewed endpapers arrived in the lab from General Collections. Since the textblock itself evidenced no mold damage, we decided to use the book to test the new humidity chamber. The book’s case and endpapers were discarded, and the spine of the textblock was trimmed using the guillotine. The individual pages were laid out in the humidity chamber to relax. We were able to humidify the entire textblock in just two batches. After being flattened and dried in a blotter stack, the pages were collated and sent out for library binding.