This is one of my most used tools. It almost always seems to be in my hand while working.
The white version is very flexible at the tip, making it ideal for delicate tasks, lifting fragile materials, pigment consolidation, and pressure sensitive tape removal. The super thin, translucent tip bends to almost 90 degrees, allowing precise control of downward pressure while sliding under the tape carrier.
The black version of Delrin is stiffer than the white, and the tip of this tool is thicker and stronger. It is useful for lifting, inserting adhesive, smoothing repairs, general smooshing, scoring, folding, marking, holding repairs in place, rebacking, etc… . Other uses.
If you can’t decide between the two versions, the only reasonable option is to purchase both. The non-reflective surface is easy to photograph. Delrin does not rust and is food safe. But I doubt it tastes very good. Delrin, approximately 7 x .25 x .25″
Making tools is not only engaging and fun, but entirely practical since the result is set of tools you can use daily. Book conservators, photo conservators, paper conservators, bookbinders, and others will find this workshop valuable. Filing, scraping and polishing are meditative activities, no previous experience required. Working Delrin and bamboo is a great way to start toolmaking and we will make folders, lifting tools, microspatulas, hera, creasing tools, tongs and more. This workshop will give you confidence in maintaining and altering your existing tools for specific needs. Give yourself the gift of learning and with some new tools and tool making skills that will keep on giving for the rest of your career! Fair warning: making your own tools is highly addictive!
OVERVIEW : All aspects of making tools with delrin and bamboo will be discussed in detail: design considerations, thinking through working procedures, cutting, filing, rough shaping, final shaping, and polishing. The workshop consists of two 3- hour synchronous zoom sessions with PPTs, videos, discussion of handouts, demonstrations, Q&A chat sessions, and working together. Also included is two week access to the workshop website, which contains information, links, videos and PPTs. The workshop includes a kit with enough materials to make nine tools with a retail value over $300. A set of hand tools to make the tools is also included: a cherry bench hook, scraper, burnisher, a file for plastics, and a variety of sanding and polishing supplies. You need a stable work surface, some time to work, a few basic hand tools, and an interest in making tools.
SCHEDULE: Two 3-hour sessions on Saturdays for each workshop. Three sections of the workshop will be offered three times. February 12 + 19, March 11 + 19, and April 9 + 16. 12-3pm Pacific, 1-4pm Mountain, 2-5pm Central, 3-6pm Eastern, 8-11pm GMT, 9-12 CET, 10 – 1am EET, 5am – 8am (+ 1 day) JST, 6am – 9am ( +1 day) UTC
INTERNATIONAL REGISTRATION: Email me for an invoice to pay by credit card. I will hold your place for 24 hours after sending an invoice. Up to 3 kits can be shipped together for the shipping price of one. I am currently unable to ship to Australia and New Zealand, but contact me if you would like to be on a notification list.
COST: $390 US ($440 Canada, $465 EU and other countries, includes shipping)
CANCELATION POLICY: If you cancel before the kits are shipped there is a $100 fee, and no refunds after kits are shipped.
Twenty years ago this Tom Sawyer, and other expensive first editions, were often extensively restored. This often involved a lot of conservationally questionable work. Redying or painting abrasions in the cloth, sophisticating the text with better boards from later editions, mixing partial textblocks with better condition plates were all common practice. Anything, really, that would make the book appear in more pristine condition.
Dust jackets, often worth more than the book they covered, were treated similarly with invasive, invisible, and often irreversible restoration done to make them look brand new. And now, the untouched ones are worth more than ones that has been messed with. Uh-oh.
And if the label on this Tom Sawyer is a harbinger of the market, things are changing for the books too. I personally became interested in old books because I liked the way old books looked, and didn’t want to change that. Generally speaking, old books and other old things are becoming more valuable when they are genuinely old, exhibit use value, have wear, patina, history, and character. Authenticity, in a word. Three reasons for this come to mind for this change: we spend more time virtually, are overwhelmed with disposable objects that can’t be fixed or retained, and there is a dwindling supply of unaltered old objects. I’m sure there are others.
A recent NY Times article about high end watches neatly summarizes some reasons for the appreciation — romanticization?— of older watches, which also could apply to books. “… old watches are considered cool: They have patina, provenance, soul. And for a generation of men (and yes, vintage watches seem to be an obsession largely for men, with apologies to Ellen [DeGeneres]) who value the analog-chic of antique mechanical watches, just like vinyl records and selvage jeans… .” A millennial friend of mine likened the record player in her living room to a fireplace: of course it is not necessary, but it is comforting to engage with a durable antiquated technology that takes a little bit of attention and care. It wasn’t an audiophile’s opining: she liked the thingness of it.
There is an imposing presence when you hold an older book in your hands. A Benjaminian “aura”. Somehow just knowing this object has seen so much over the years impacts us. The scars, damage, wear, uniqueness, and trauma an object has encountered can often add aesthetic and sometimes even informational value. An extreme example might be the books that were damaged while by stopping a bullet, possibly saving a life. Despite being mass produced, nineteenth century titles are often unique, due to the amount of handwork that went into them at various stages of the binding, and the physical traces from their existence in time and space.
Yet I fear the book dealer’s sign on this Tom Sawyer may swing the pendulum too far. Although I only looked at this book under glass, I could think of a few very minor treatments that would greatly extend the life of this object when handled, without impacting its aesthetic value, use value, patina or other inherent qualities. Is “free from repair” a good thing if the joint continues to tear with each opening? Or was the dealer sophisticated enough to distinguish between restoration, repair and conservation?
A professional conservator (i.e. me) takes their ethical obligations to the object entrusted to their care seriously, and most of us pledge to do this in writing. The AIC guidelines for practice specifically discuss compensation for loss and reversibility. Restoration treatment may or may not reversible: conservation treatment always should be. This may be the main reason for the notice on the Tom Sawyer book: a future owner could move forward with a more invasive treatment, depending on the intended uses of the book, but could not go back. And this affects the value.
Are we finally witnessing a place for conservation oriented book treatments in the marketplace and recognition in the public sphere?