Paper Restoration using Laser technology
The variety in combinations of different types of foreign matter (dirt) on paper objects can present complex cleaning problems in paper conservation. Current cleaning methods using conventional techniques such as solvents and mechanical means are not always sufficient to solve all problems. Laser technique offers an accurate and safe tool for solving certain cases. Especially when local cleaning in the vicinity of sensitive media is demanded, laser can be a good addition to the traditional techniques.
PaReLa is a project that has focussed on the laser cleaning of paper and was funded by the European Commission. In the project a range of cleaning problems that are cumbersome or impossible to treat using conventional methods were selected by paper conservators participating in the project, including the following types of foreign matter commonly found on paper objects: surface dust; adhesives (rubber based and synthetic); pressure-sensitive tapes; inks and stamps; 'sticky fingers' (skin surface lipid, possibly combined with dust); stains from foxing, fungi and oil.
A direct result from the project was the development of a laser cleaning workstation for selective cleaning of paper surfaces. The workstation combines the laser technique with a camera system, which enables a accurately and safe cleaning around sensitive media that should not be treated with the laser, for instance text.
As a demonstration several cleaning cases (including both artificially model samples as well as original documents) have been carried out in this project, including the removal of ballpoint ink, the accurate removal of chalk from inside a coat of arms (see images below), and the removal of rust residue.
• Art Innovation
• Barbachano & Beny, S.A.
• Institut für Papierrestaurierung
• Atelier Quillet
• Bernadette van Beek / Restauratie van Kunst op Papier
• Susan Corr
• Restauratie-atelier De Tiendschuur
• The Hai Yen Institute for Conservation of Works of Art Hai-Yen Hua
• Art Conservation b.v.
• Conservator J.T.F. Peteus
• TNO Buildings and Constructions Healthy Buildings and Systems
• BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing Laboratory for Thin Film
• Instituut Collectie Nederland
• Foundation for Research and Technolgy - Hellas
• NCLR b.v.
Basic Laser Facts
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