Tag Archives: paper conservation tools

Heat Treated Tonkin Bamboo Hera Blanks for Sale

Tonkin Bamboo. Note the large areas of black power fibers. Compare this to the endgrain of a chopstick.

Hera are small Japanese tools useful for a variety of scraping, lifting, and delaminating tasks. They are common in paper conservation. Tonkin is a dense, flexible and strong type of bamboo that handmade fishing rods are made from. More about Tonkin.  Heat treating increases the elasticity of the bamboo.

Even so, hera with very thin and flexible tips can wear and can crack, so they need to be maintained by sanding, carving, reducing the width, or even shortening.  Once you have the skills to make a hera, they are easy to maintain. If you want to keep things simple, shape it with your Olfa knife, sand it with 220 grit, then finish it with 600 grit.  More tips on shaping bamboo.

These blanks are roughly 6 inches long, and 1/4 – 3/8 inch wide.  If you want to make two narrow hera, you could split a wider blank.  Just ask me for the widest one I have. Making your own tools to the exact size and shape you need is rewarding and satisfying.

Purchase heat treated Tonkin hera blanks here, only $10.00/ each!

Top, bottom, and side views of a typical blank.

A finished hera. This is not difficult to do, but takes a bit of time.

A Japanese Burnisher

This week I am guest blogging on the The Book and Paper Gathering, a site which delivers conservation information in a light-hearted, easy-to-digest manor.  A conservation magazine, rather than a peer reviewed journal. It is well worth spending some time reviewing their previous posts.

The Most Beautiful Tool in the World: A Japanese Burnisher

Exactly twice in my life I’ve seen a tool and immediately felt such a keen a desire to possess it that my secular observance of the eighth commandment was severely tested.

Drooling over Robert Minte’s collection of Japanese hera at the Bodelian Library in 2010 was the first time. They were so elegant, simple, beautiful — perfect tools, I thought. It was the longest flight of my life back to New York City, my fingers itching to make some for myself. Over time, I learned more about bamboo, shaping bamboo, and continue to keep making them today

The object of desire the second time was also a Japanese tool, though in this case a burnisher, and…  READ THE REST AT THE GATHERING

 

Uses for a Delrin Hera

Image courtesy Joan Weir

Image courtesy Joan Weir. This delrin hera is .25 inches wide and 6.5 inches long.

“My new favorite tool. Every paper conservator should have one in their tool kit. Fabulous for control on soft of thin supports, makes adhesive and hinge removal a breeze. Beats Teflon by far.”   – Joan Weir, Paper Conservator, Art Gallery Ontario, Toronto, Canada.

I also find myself using this tool more and more.  Some other uses:

  • Manipulating fragile pages or tissue
  • Delaminating boards or covering material
  • Keeping lifted areas open during rebacking or board attachment
  • Lightly scoring tissue in complex shapes for paper repairs
  • Applying controlled pressure during paint consolidation or tissue repairs
  • Inserting adhesive into delaminating areas
  • Delicate scraping. Better edge retention than teflon and softer than steel on paper
  • Tape removal. Can be heated to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and resistant to most solvents
  • Holding things during photography. Less reflective than steel and looks cleaner

Only $40   How to purchase and more info 

 

lifting

Delrin Lifting Tool

lifting1

Top of Delrin lifting tool. The tip is sharp for about an inch on each side. The rest of the tool edges are rounded for a comfortable grip..

lifting2

Detail of the general shape of the tip.

lifting3

Detail of the gradual reduction in thickness at the tip.

This delrin lifting tool is useful for general lifting, mechanical backing removal, and whenever you need to gently pry or delaminate something. Both book and paper conservators will find this an essential component of their toolkit. Although it is thicker than the carbon fiber lifter I make and sell, it has a slightly lower coefficient of friction, so slides a bit better, and it is more ridgid. If you like your teflon lifter but are tired of how easily the cutting edge bends, this might be the tool for you. Obviously, it is not as durable as metal.  But it is always great to have as wide of a range of tools as possible.  These delrin lifters are hand sharpened to achieve the best possible balance between initial cutting performance and edge retention. The edge is easy to maintain by sanding or scraping. Click on “Tool Catalog” above for ordering information.

DELRIN LIFTING TOOL.  Around 12 x 1 x .125″.  $40