Home
Shop  |  Calendar  |  Join  |  Buy Tickets  |  Hamnet  |  Site Rental  |  Press Room  
  
About UsWhat's OnUse the CollectionDiscover ShakespeareTeach & LearnFolger InstituteSupport Us
Conservation Lab
• Treatment Examples
Leafcasting

   Sign up for E-news!
   Printer Friendly

Computerized Leafcasting for a Polish Herbal



Over the centuries, readers made heavy use of this important early Polish herbal by Stefan Falimierz, which was published in Krakow in 1534. Some pages are missing altogether, and those that survive have thinned in many places and include tears and holes. To repair the damage, Folger conservators first removed old, overly stiff patches from the paper, and then employed a process called leafcasting to fill the areas that had previously been patched. In leafcasting, a fine slurry, consisting of beaten paper fibers highly diluted in water, is used to fill such areas in the page, or leaf.

 

Computerized leafcasting was developed at the Folger in the mid-1980s, and the Folger remains one of the very few North American institutions—and one of a limited number in the world—with this capacity. To begin the process, a video camera captures an image of the page to be treated. Specialized software measures the paper’s surface area and then calculates how much slurry should be added to fill the tears and holes in the page to the same thickness as the original paper.

 

These photographs show the next steps. First, the conservator places the page on a backing material within the leafcasting apparatus. Next, a grid is placed over the paper and the leafcasting area is filled with water. The precisely measured slurry is poured in and evenly distributed. In the final step, the water is drained off, leaving only the paper fibers to fill the missing areas.

 

Following these steps, the repaired page is sized, dried, and then carefully cut to the correct outer dimensions. After all the pages of the herbal have been repaired, the textblock can be reassembled and rebound, with strengthened pages that will endure for many years to come.

 
Preparing to begin leafcasting



A conservator evenly distributes the slurry over the leafcasting area



Water is drained off in the final leafcasting step



Related Items

See the Elizabethan Garden



Bookmark and Share   
 
     Copyright & Policies   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   About This Site
RSS   
 
  Address:
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »
    Hours:
PublicReading Room
10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday8:45am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday
12pm to 5pm, Sunday9am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday
    Phone:
Main: 202 544 4600
Box Office: 202 544 7077
Fax: 202 544 4623