View Full Version : Antique Paper--salvagable?

01-06-2013, 02:04 PM
Hello everyone,

I was given a journal, which was an appointment book from 1956!! It was barely used, and I thought it would be a great thing to do some sketches in for an every day practice. So, when I use a pencil, the paper is VERY fragile and tears very easily. The pages are turning brown and look very cook, but they are brittle. Is there anyway to save this paper so I can use it for a sketchbook? I didn't want to do anything with water, just some graphite and/or colored pencils. Could I spray each page with workable fixative? Or should I just can it? Or maybe keep the cover and rebind with good paper?

What are your recommendations?

Thank you in advance!!

01-06-2013, 04:22 PM
The paper is acidic, that's why it's so brittle and discolored. I personally don't know any way to save it. Is there anything written or drawn in there you want to save? If not, I'd gut the book and put in good paper. That's just my opinion.

Or, you could gut the book and utilize the paper by turning it into paper pulp and adding calcium carbonate to neutralize the acid. (Use one of those test strips like you used in chemistry class to tell when it's neutral.) Then make new paper out of it.

01-06-2013, 05:22 PM
Hi Nancy, Debby had some great idas ideas.

I also have a sketchbook which is brittle and yellowed. The paper is thicker than what you have, it was originally intended as a scrapbook. My mom bound it about 40 years ago and it was untouched when she gave it to me, before "acid free" or "archival" was widely available.

I only use it for acrylic sketches and I always start with a layer of gesso. There are also some things to help with the brittleness of the paper made by Golden, the GAC series (GAC 200, GAC 400, I forget which one) but the paper will still be acidic and you will then have buckling. If the pages are bound, there's no practical way to coat the whole page. Then, after putting an acrylic coating, you might not be able to get graphite to stick.

I have these GAC things but I haven't used it (whoops.) I had intentions but I've all but forgotten what those were. One of them was to coat a cork board as a barrier I have pinned some of my work to.

01-07-2013, 02:31 PM
Thank you both...I do have a few sketches in there, but nothing i couldn't reproduce. I think I will gut it and still keep the old cover. It would make a great journal!!!

01-24-2013, 10:33 PM
Yummy...what kind of paper would you put inside?

01-25-2013, 06:19 PM
Hey, if you haven't discarded the paper yet - why not scan it? Then you could make photo prints and do image transfer. :wink2: