[Scriptoris] pH of paper--Shocking info!

Elaine eshc at earthlink.net
Fri May 14 09:30:38 PDT 2010

In a continued investigation of the problems with the pH of paper, I  
ran across the following site and was totally shocked. I had heard,  
years ago, that pH neutral paper would eventually revert, but I never  
collected stamps.

These people really get serious about their investments' longevity.  
They don't even like "acid free" or "pH neutral" papers to put their  
stamps on. They don't trust it. And even then, a few years down the  
road, they change the paper (the one they DO like) for their stamps  
to be displayed on. Wow! What a deeper education into papers.


Study of museum level glues and tapes should also provide a life-time  
work.....whew!  : - ) If this keeps up, we may have to turn doing  
scrolls over to the feline population, since they have nine lives to  
learn it all.......

Lete (bordering on overwhelmed, but still smiling...... and gaining a  
whole new respect for her cat)

PS. Most of the medieval skins that manuscripts were lettered on were  
a bi-product of the meat sources the castle/ monastery population had  
slaughtered for the table, or so I was told. Any further info on  
that, Serena? (If you are new to this area---Serena is a prime,  
resident guru on all things C & I.)-----------Lete

On May 12, 2010, at 6:54 PM, Diane Rudin wrote:

> The process of making vegetable parchment involves treating the  
> vegetable pulp with sulfuric acid.  The resultant paper is not  
> archival quality, and will darken and become brittle with age,  
> noticeably deteriorating within 20 years.  In addition, pH-reactive  
> colorants (most noticeably turnsole, but also madder and most other  
> organic dyestuffs) will be affected by the acid paper, discoloring  
> or even fading from sight.
> When I first started doing originals, I used Strathmore Bristol  
> Board paper.  Those pieces are beginning to yellow with age.  I  
> moved to using Arches 140# Hot Press paper for originals, and those  
> pieces are *not* yellowing with age.  So, not even all fine art  
> papers are created equally age-resistant.
> Some papers come with a label "acid-free".  "Acid-free" is not
> synonymous with "pH-neutral".  The best way to check a paper's  
> chemical
> stability is to test it with a pH-indicator pen.
> Of course, the absolute best surface for C&I, from a longevity  
> point of view, is real vellum/parchment made from animal hides, but  
> that's expensive ($100/side), and some people also have moral  
> objections to its use.
> If you're doing work that you do not intend to remain in good  
> condition for the lifetime of the recipient, use whatever you  
> like.  But for archival work, it really is best to use archival  
> materials.
> --Serena

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