Today I am working on the worn and torn edges of a piece of tracing cloth damaged in last year’s flood. Tracing cloth tends to be very sturdy, but the edges of this piece were obviously damaged even before it spent a day soaking in flood water.

I’ll repair the tears with wheat starch paste and Japanese tissue. Then I’ll carefully use a tacking iron to try to flatten the edges a bit. My goal is to stabilize the edges to minimize the chance that they’ll be damaged in storage or through use in their new home at Special Collections.

While I am working on the edges, the plan is going to taunt me with an alternative option. The plan’s creator kindly included lines and instructions to trim the very edges that I’ll be working on.

I can’t say that I won’t be tempted if my repairs don’t go smoothly, but that my friends is exactly why conservators have a code of ethics.

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