Blotter Washing

There are a few posts and articles out there about blotter washing for loose sheets and prints etc, but none that I’ve found for washing pages of bindings in situ. So, to remedy this, I’ve put together a post for what I’ve done for a project I’m working on at the moment.

I’m pulling the staining out towards the verso of the page, unless there’s a plate on the verso, in which case, the stains will be pulled out onto the recto. The technique uses osmosis – pulling moisture through the page from a wet blotter to a dry one, and requires the dry blotter being changed regularly so it can receive more moisture and therefore soluble particulates from the stained page.

The page to be washed will need to be humidified before treatment, I’ve done this with a handheld Muji spray bottle, protecting the facing page with some cling film.

Using thick plastic sheets as a barrier between the page to be washed, and the rest of the text block, set up the process as follows:Blotter Washig

1: Weight.
2: Glass sheet (mine’s from Ikea).
3: Wet blotting paper, cut to the same size of the page to be washed.
4: Page to be washed.
5: Dry blotter, cut larger than the page.
6: Thick polyester sheeting, or Melinex (something waterproof).

Change out both pieces of blotting paper regularly (every 15-20mins) and you will be able to see the discolouration coming out onto both pieces of blotter, but more so on the dry piece. Change the blotters 2-3 times depending on the severity of the soiling, and then place the page between clean, dry blotters and leave to dry under weight (changing these blotters too).

Check out some before and after’s after the jump.

If the page is particularly fragile, support it on both sides with pieces of Bondina or Holytex for ease of handling, and to prevent damage from suction created by lifting off the wet blotter.

Verso of page before washing and after spray humidification.

Verso of page before washing and after spray humidification.

Recto of page before washing, after humidification.

Recto of page before washing, after humidification.

Dry blotters after use, from l-r after 30mins, 1hr, 1hr30mins, and 2hrs.

Dry blotters after use, from l-r after 30mins, 1hr, 1hr30mins, and 2hrs.

Verso of page after washing and drying.

Verso of page after washing and drying.

Recto of page after washing and drying.

Recto of page after washing and drying.

Notice that the stains haven’t been remove completely, but they are visibly less obtrusive and have been reduced considerably.

One thought on “Blotter Washing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s