Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tape: Don't Even Think About It

I spent the entirety of last week, at work, dealing with this thing that had tape all over it. Being that I work where I do, the thing was a work of art on paper. An important 125+ year-old family document belonging to a private client. And, at sometime in the past, some genius decided to do a little self-lamination project and cover the main area of design with multiple layers of tape. Recto and verso. With like four layers in some places! I can't even imagine somebody taping this thing back together, all crooked and whatnot, and then stepping back to admire and saying, "Damn... I did a good job on that!" It blows my mind.

Ugh! The worst part is that the design liked the adhesive of the tape so so so much better than in liked the paper. What a nightmare. I generally have a 0.1% (at the most) acceptable loss policy, but I had to opt for a 10% loss on this sucker. And I have what I like to think of as mad skillz and infinite patience. (I'm pretty sure that one time I told somebody that I have a masters degree in getting tape off of things.) But - no choice. The tape had to come off. This is what they don't really get into in conservation grad school: the degree of acceptable loss.

Stuff with tape comes in all the time. And all kinds of tape, even the kinds you wouldn't expect. Like duct tape. I think my least favorite is gaffers tape: its so hard to get off of things. Ugh - and then the stains and the sticky residue all those tapes leave behind.

So, the moral of the story is as follows. If you're thinking of putting tape on something that may be of value to your descendants, be prepared for a paper/photo conservator to charge like $5,000 to deal with it. And don't whine about the cost: it was your own fault.


david_hatton said...

Hey! another fantastic blog. i'm a regular follower. beautifully written.

think you might be interested in some of my articles and blogs, feel free to have a read


keep up the good work!

all the way from england


Mary Ann said...

Sticky situation!