Frankenplan without the Franken

You might remember my Frankenplan post. I needed to line a large blueprint that was in pieces. I temporarily joined all the parts using bridge repairs along the front so that I could apply a lining on the back of the plan.

Overall, I was pleased with the result, but bridge repairs on such a large piece are not perfect. They are time consuming to apply and remove, and things can shift during the lining process.

I was wondering if it would be possible to do such a repair without applying the bridge repairs. I went to my pile of flood-damaged plans and found a plan with very little information near the tears, which gave me a little wiggle room if the repair was less than perfect.

The first step was to lightly humidify all the pieces. I then heavily sprayed a large piece of Melinex with deionized water and laid the largest piece down. I inserted the small wedge piece in first.

The great thing about using Melinex as the support was that I could flip it up to see if the piece was fitted in correctly.

The small piece went in quite nicely, so I took a deep breath and tried the other half of the plan.

I slowly butted the edges together.

Once I was satisfied that the tear was lined up as well as possible, I applied the lining. (Sorry I don’t have a photo, but you can refer to the Frankenplan post to see the general process.)

The end result was this, and overall I was quite pleased. You can still see the line of the repair, but that is to be expected. The plan had originally been roughly repaired with a long strip of packing tape applied to the back. The edges of the tear had been abraded with use.  Then the plan survived a flood, so I knew not to expect perfection.

Here are a few observations in case you are thinking of trying this at home.

1. Decide if you can live with imperfection. In this case, I did not have to worry about losing any information if the joins were not spot on.

2. Know your materials. I was also lucky in working with a relatively sturdy paper that I’ve spent a lot of time with in a wet state. I would have been much more hesitant to do this with a more fragile paper that I didn’t have experience with.

3. When I say spray the Melinex generously, I mean spray and spray again. I knew that Melinex was pretty magnetic, but I was surprised by how wet things needed to be to get even a bit of movement. Keep a towel handy.

4. I only lightly humidified the pieces before positioning them because I didn’t want the added moisture to weaken the paper too much. (As a conservator, I try not to tear things further while working on them.) Once I got the pieces down I needed to spray again to equalize the moisture front and back.

What do you think?

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