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What to do with staples?


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#1 Dogsbody

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 10:01 AM

Hello everyone, I have several army publications and some of them have rusted staples (see pics) and the rust is bleeding into the paper. I'd like to hear your opinions on how to deal with something like this. Do you  for example remove the staples or leave the item intact and hope for the best? All thoughts will be appreciated.

 

SAM_3204 city.jpg

 

SAM_3199 cities.jpg

 

Rene

 

 

 

 



#2 Thor996

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 10:03 AM

i never mess with the old ones but that is me~

#3 Bluehawk

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 07:59 PM

Two cents...

 

Rusted staples in contact with the paper, present an inherent vice condition - which will continue to worsen, in some probability, sooner  or later.

 

I would remove them, were it mine to do, by prying (not pulling) the loose ends up and away, gently taking staples off from the back fold. Then gently brushing away rust residue. 

 

I would not attempt to restaple the booklet.

 

What would be accomplished is to stabilize the artifact, preventing further deterioration.



#4 mikie

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 07:37 AM

Hi Rene,
I have to agree with Bluehawk on this one. Keeping them there like that will only continue damaging both the paper and the staples. I would carefully remove the staples, gently brush off any rust on the paper. Perhaps you could treat the staples to some rust stabilizer or something, then carefully put them back in place. If it was of high historical or monetary value, I'd suggest consulting a professional preservationist. Whatever you do...good luck with it!
Mikie

#5 Dogsbody

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 04:50 AM

Thanks for the advice! After thinking about it for a little while I decided to remove the staples from several publications that had rusted staples including the one I posted in this thread.

 

The next pictures show what was not directly apparent with the staples in place. The rust eats away at the paper.The next pictures show what happened. Knowing this is an ongoing process I'm glad I removed the staples. 

 

SAM_3230 rust.jpg

 

Page underneath:

 

SAM_3229 rust.jpg

 

Page underneath last one:

 

SAM_3228 rust.jpg

 

Rene

 

 

 

 



#6 Thor996

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 05:27 AM

Old paper, especially paper from the last hundred fifty years, is tough to preserve permanently.   I know there's a couple of museum folks on this forum who can better address than I can, but your question and an answer from a professional conservator is something I look forward to hearing from.  

 

There is another inherent flaw in modern paper that lot of people on the forum may or may not be aware of- acid. Here's what I found that should hopefully help all us out there who have old ephemera.  I suggest ,and I do this religiously and it is tedious, that you digitally scan your old documents as you can slow down the process of deterioration but not stop it altogether.

 

I have a fairly large collection of paper documents, letters etc from the last century and some of them are in better shape than others.  Some are extremely fragile and hard to read because of this chemical process that occurs in modern paper and that is why I immediately put them in non pvc/acid free [and make sure the package on the protectors says NON PVC and or ACID FREE [caps for emphasis] after I digitally image them and keep them stored as best as I can in my home [which despite what my wife says] which is not a climate controlled museum and be the best steward I can until someone else winds up with the originals.  The digital images will last as long as digital media they are stored on can be accessed. 

 

You have brought up a good question and I look forward to hearing from other ephemera collectors out there. In the meantime, I hope this link can help you and others learn how to conserve fragile paper documents that have historical significance. 

 

 

dave

 

 

 

https://www.loc.gov/...care/index.html

 

 



#7 Dogsbody

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 07:12 AM



Old paper, especially paper from the last hundred fifty years, is tough to preserve permanently.   I know there's a couple of museum folks on this forum who can better address than I can, but your question and an answer from a professional conservator is something I look forward to hearing from.  

 

There is another inherent flaw in modern paper that lot of people on the forum may or may not be aware of- acid. Here's what I found that should hopefully help all us out there who have old ephemera.  I suggest ,and I do this religiously and it is tedious, that you digitally scan your old documents as you can slow down the process of deterioration but not stop it altogether.

 

I have a fairly large collection of paper documents, letters etc from the last century and some of them are in better shape than others.  Some are extremely fragile and hard to read because of this chemical process that occurs in modern paper and that is why I immediately put them in non pvc/acid free [and make sure the package on the protectors says NON PVC and or ACID FREE [caps for emphasis] after I digitally image them and keep them stored as best as I can in my home [which despite what my wife says] which is not a climate controlled museum and be the best steward I can until someone else winds up with the originals.  The digital images will last as long as digital media they are stored on can be accessed. 

 

You have brought up a good question and I look forward to hearing from other ephemera collectors out there. In the meantime, I hope this link can help you and others learn how to conserve fragile paper documents that have historical significance. 

 

 

dave

 

 

 

https://www.loc.gov/...care/index.html

 

 

Thanks Dave for your extensive reaction. Putting paper items in acid free protectors is something I already do and I have started digitalising items too.  I also look forward to hearing from other collectors.

 

Rene



#8 Bluehawk

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 07:52 AM

As they say in Hawaii, "Mo' Betta!" 

 

There are essentially two primary considerations:

 

1. Paper, throughout the ages, has been manufactured using all kinds of fibrous material (wood pulp, cotton, silk, polymers, seaweed, tree bark, papyrus, sheepskin etc etc etc) by itself or combined with binders and limitless numbers of heaven knows what else, suspended in water or another liquid. Some of it, such as newsprint, is very unstable and in varying degrees will self-destruct over time - more so with modern newsprint. 

Like everything else, there is GREAT paper, and there is  l o u s y  paper - but most normal books, pamphlets, magazines, photographs &c will hold up basically indefinitely providing acid-free storage, absence of critters, moisture barriers, low sunlight exposure and stuff like rusty staples and the occasional curious or artistic toddler.

 

2. Almost anything can be restored to look exactly or nearly as it did originally - including those rusty holes in your artifacts. However, it is usually rather expensive to have done.

> Example: I had a half inch ballpoint pen circle that someone had drawn around the face on an ancestor in a very old family photograph removed - it cost me $75, in 1983. 

> Example: A colleague and I restored a 400-pound 8' x 5' x 2' painted ceramic Mexican Tree of Life (Arbol en la Vida) that had shattered in shipment to a museum. It took three weeks and cost $6,000, in 1990.

So, unless an artifact is of fairly major family, historical or monetary significance, then it is usually more prudent to take normal customary steps simply to preserve/stabilize artifacts, store things sensibly - and leave it at that. 

Paper and other conservators come in all sorts of degrees of expertise and fees, of course. Most conservators are REALLY fussy, naturally, about what is and is not the proper thing to do in a given circumstance. They are, after all, scientists as well as artists. So, the more they do and the longer it takes, the more it costs.

 

Hopefully of some help...


Edited by Bluehawk, 14 April 2018 - 08:02 AM.


#9 mikie

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 08:30 AM

This is a great discussion on something thst at first glance may seem a minor issue.

I have not studied chemistry since high school, which was far longer ago than I care to think about. I know that many types of paper are acidic. Could the acids in the paper be a cause of the staples rusting in the first place?

I recall a poster in another forum discuss a similar problem with a very historic document who considered the staples just as historically significant as the rest of the document. While I'm sure it isn't quite as important a point for Rene's guide book, it's just something to consider when trying to save any item for the ages.

Mikie

#10 Bluehawk

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 08:42 AM

- Metal (e.g. staples) will rust, in the presence of moisture. They do not otherwise rust by themselves.

- Acidic papers could, I suppose, depending on how MUCH acidic it is, tend to hasten deterioration when in contact with rusting metal.

- Good rule of thumb is that whenever two or more dissimilar materials are in direct contact with one another, then the possibility may or does exist for them to interact in an unfavorable manner.

- Staples may or may not be or have been part of the original artifact and could or should be left in place UNLESS they are, as in this instance, destroying the artifact.



#11 Dogsbody

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 03:54 AM

As they say in Hawaii, "Mo' Betta!" 

 

There are essentially two primary considerations:

 

1. Paper, throughout the ages, has been manufactured using all kinds of fibrous material (wood pulp, cotton, silk, polymers, seaweed, tree bark, papyrus, sheepskin etc etc etc) by itself or combined with binders and limitless numbers of heaven knows what else, suspended in water or another liquid. Some of it, such as newsprint, is very unstable and in varying degrees will self-destruct over time - more so with modern newsprint. 

Like everything else, there is GREAT paper, and there is  l o u s y  paper - but most normal books, pamphlets, magazines, photographs &c will hold up basically indefinitely providing acid-free storage, absence of critters, moisture barriers, low sunlight exposure and stuff like rusty staples and the occasional curious or artistic toddler.

 

2. Almost anything can be restored to look exactly or nearly as it did originally - including those rusty holes in your artifacts. However, it is usually rather expensive to have done.

> Example: I had a half inch ballpoint pen circle that someone had drawn around the face on an ancestor in a very old family photograph removed - it cost me $75, in 1983. 

> Example: A colleague and I restored a 400-pound 8' x 5' x 2' painted ceramic Mexican Tree of Life (Arbol en la Vida) that had shattered in shipment to a museum. It took three weeks and cost $6,000, in 1990.

So, unless an artifact is of fairly major family, historical or monetary significance, then it is usually more prudent to take normal customary steps simply to preserve/stabilize artifacts, store things sensibly - and leave it at that. 

Paper and other conservators come in all sorts of degrees of expertise and fees, of course. Most conservators are REALLY fussy, naturally, about what is and is not the proper thing to do in a given circumstance. They are, after all, scientists as well as artists. So, the more they do and the longer it takes, the more it costs.

 

Hopefully of some help...

Thanks for the info, Bluehawk. The items I have are not (overly) rare or represent great monetary value. This doesn't mean I don't want to take care of them the best I can so normal customary steps to preserve the items is the route I'll take.

 

Rene




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