Treatment trials

Creased new parchment

Twelve samples of new parchment, which had been scrunched up and creases folded in, were tested to compare plain water against a water/ethanol solution, local humidification against full humidification, and different tension controlled drying methods (suction table, pegging out and magnets).

The three drying techniques:

1. For the suction table method, samples were placed onto the suction table, with thick blotter underneath, and the creases gradually eased out.

Suction table

2. For the pegging method, plastic clips (with rubber and thick non-woven polyester between their jaws) were attached to the edges of the samples, and then put under tension and pinned in place on a soft board.

Pegged samples

3. For the magnet method, a metal sheet was covered in thick non-woven polyester, the samples placed on top, then small magnets covered in felt arranged on top to hold them flat.




In comparing the use of water and a water/ethanol solution to humidify the samples, it was found that there was little difference. After 1.5 hours, all samples were equally soft and ready for drying. The only main difference was that the samples that had been fully humidified with just water tended to curl up. Also with these samples it was difficult to see much difference between samples that had been partially humidified and those that had been fully humidified.


All the tension drying methods were quite successful with all the samples, which was to be expected for new parchment. With the magnets, difficulties might occur when applying the magnets to older, distorted samples with wavy edges if the parchment was only locally humidified. In this instance the edges would be quite hard and so susceptible to damage from the pressure of the magnets. This would also be a problem with the pegging out method too. The next stage will be to test these tension drying methods on samples of distorted parchment to see how appropriate they will be for use on the Great Parchment Book.

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