Day 3: Conservation Lab

Today had a lot of variety in it. I first wanted to show you a different view of the CHL and Archives. If you look at the picture below, I park to the right just, outside of the frame, in a parking lot surrounded by a beautiful garden.

CHL N.Temple St.

This is a view of the side of the Church History Library and Archives



Also, here’s a little human interest tidbit. I was pretty excited to see my favorite soft drink in the vending machine. I’m definitely going to have to purchase one before I finish up in SL.

Diet Caffeine-free Dr. Pepper

My favorite soft drink is sold in the break room vending machine. You can only get caffeine-free Diet Dr. Pepper in California and Utah. Yum.


The first thing I did, today, was remove the clamshell box from the book press. It was very exciting.

Clamshell with book

Here is the finished clamshell box with its book lying inside of it. Cozy!

Finished Clamshell Box

I am holding the finished clamshell box.


Thomasina, the amazing intern from University of Alabama, is working on repairing an 1893 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. She unstitched the signatures from the spine and is checking each 4-page set for tears and separations. She is making the repairs with a very thin Japanese paper that has long, strong fibers in it.

Japonese paper strips

The intern, Thomasina, tears Japanese paper into strips to use for repairs.


Lining up pages

Thomasina weighs down two separated pages and then pushes them together for repair.


The repair is made with wheat paste and then the pages are moved to a drying system with heavy blotter strips and weights.

Drying blocks

Setting the repaired page in between drying blocks made of board, blotter, and Japanese paper.


When the pages are dried, we fold the four-page signatures together and put all of the signatures in order. Thomasina will then put the whole textblock in a book press over night. This was a fun opportunity for me to help. I got to make paper strips using an awl and straight edge. I also got to make the simple repairs down the centers of the pages and on small tears. Thomasina did all the heavy hitting by repairing large tears and replacing missing parts of pages. Those kinds of repairs are made with a slightly heavier paper. The conservator tries to pick a paper that matches the page color.

Water pen

The damaged page is under Mylar. The shape needed to make the repair is traced with a water pen onto colored Japanese paper.


Today, I also got a mini-tour of the sound lab in the building. More on that, tomorrow. I learned how to make Mylar book jackets. That was fun, but I didn’t have my camera with me. Katie and I were on a different floor when we made those. Also, Katie taught me how to use a binding machine that puts a type of folder onto the edge of a loose-leaf publication. The last step required serious muscle. Let’s face it. Katie was the hero of the day. She taught me so much and took me to so many different labs and places that I even made her late for an important meeting. She is trying very hard to make sure my experience is rewarding. That girl deserves some serious chocolate!

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One Response to Day 3: Conservation Lab

  1. Brianne says:

    I am afraid you are never going to want to come back 🙂 I am happy to hear that you are learning so much and that they are making such an effort for you to have such a rewarding experience. This is just such an incredible experience and I am still jealous! The building is beautiful, the staff seems amazing, and the supplies seem plentiful. I can’t wait to read about day 4!

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