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Handling old paper & linen architectural drawings

Handling old paper & linen architectural drawings

Dealing with outdated paper & linen architectural drawings

Part of the design job is researching existing conditions is by reviewing previous paper, film and linen drawings. Unfortunately most of the outdated drawings that are so valuable are often in very poor condition. Although its important to get the information needed from these previous sheets, it requires extreme care to keep from damaging the materials further.

Drawings from the early 1900's are often linens. These are sheets comprised of a course weave of cotton bound with polyestherresin and pressed this. The sheets were green, blue and sometimes off- white and drawn upon with India ink. The problem with this media is cracking, drying and thread fraying. Ink rubbing off was not as much of a concern but staining and dirt embedment is often seen, especially if the drawings were stored in upright, pressure spring-band cabinets. Linens are still the hardiest of the previous drawing types.

Blueprints are exceptionaly fragile. Usually they weremade from 20# bleached bond paper coated with a mix of ammonium ferric citrate and potassium ferricyanide. These chemicals reacted the paper and made it brittle, which increased over time. So previous blueprints are especially fragile.

Diazo prints are atype of inverse blueprintmade from coating bond paper with diazonium salt and

exposing it to dilute ammonia. They're a later innovation (1950s on) and have stood the test of time

a little better.

There is also Vellum, transluscent bond and polyester to contend with, but the biggest problems remain with the materials produced in the earlier part of the 1900's.

Regardless of the media, there are correct ways to handle these drawings. First is to get them out of the standup-type plans cabinets and into the old-style plans drawers. Next, construct a D+ or larger two-sided Acetate sleeve to place the damaged media in. This will hold the drawing together while it's reviewed or copied. Lastly is repair of the damaged drawing with a suitable 8 - 8.5ph, wood- pulp free adhesive tapelike Filmoplast P (Talas in NYC).And if you decide to undertake repair of the drawings be sure that it's applied to one side and burnished with a suitable tool (the round side of a spoon will do).

If you need to flatten the drawing, the best way to do this is to unfold it carefully, expecting that

some creases will crack and sandwitch itbetween large cardboard sheets and place heavy books on

file:///F|/scribd/Handling_old_paper_&_linen_architectural_drawings.html[10/3/2011 8:53:00 AM]

Handling old paper & linen architectural drawings

it overnight. Don't use a heat source since it can damage the media futher if not expertly applied.

If the drawing is critical, consider getting it scanned on a flatbed scanner like the German CST scanner. In Philadelphia, The Athenaeum can provide this service.

In summary, handle the aged paper as little as possible. Collect all of the ripped sections and torn off sections. Construct a sleeveof clearAcetate to hold the drawing together while managing. Get the drawing into flat storage and into an environmentwith a temperature of 68F/20C to 76F/24.4C and a relative humidity of 35 to 55 percent. Lastly, if repairs are attempted whatever you do, don't use common adhesive or masking tape. Use Filmoplast P tape to one side only to keep the paper from kinking.

file:///F|/scribd/Handling_old_paper_&_linen_architectural_drawings.html[10/3/2011 8:53:00 AM]