Chapter Eleven

Repairs – Part 2

With the tears stabilised with BEVA sutures, they are now in place and can be repaired along their entire length.

Laying down long repair patches

One centimetre wide strips of remoistenable lining paper were torn from the sheet. Tearing the paper provides an edge of feathery fibres which creates more surface area for the adhesive to stick to and we end up with a better grip. The strips are gently wet out, allowed to air dry slightly, positioned over the tear, then burnished into place. They are then placed under weight and allowed to dry without movement. This work is carried out on the light table so that the line of the tear can be followed exactly.
With the combination of sutures and thin tissue strips, the tears are now strong and not at risk of getting worse during handling.

Repair patches in place

At the same time, the largest losses will be in-filled with tissue. This will provide a support for colour toned patches to make the losses less apparent from the front.
Firstly, the object is covered with Mylar as a protective barrier layer. The repair tissue is placed over the loss and the tissue perforated with a pointed probe around the edge of the loss.

Perforating the repair tissue through Mylar

Then, the perforated line is wet out with deionized water to facilitate tearing the patch out. It is pasted or wet out around the overlap and carefully positioned over the loss. The patch is then weighted down until dry and set into place:

Wet tearing over perforations

The same system can be used to infill losses and repair many small edge tears at the same time:

Fill tissue used as edge repair strip

Once all of the tears on each end are repaired from the back, the item will be flipped over and the losses infilled with toned paper from the front. But that’s for next time….