Make Your Own Humidity Chamber for Rolled Documents or Comics!

How To Flatten Folded Or Rolled PaDer Documents

Paper records such as maps, newspapers,  and documents that have been rolled or folded for long periods of time often may be safely flattened using carefully controlled humidification.

According to the National Park Service, “Paper records such as maps, newspapers, and documents that have been rolled or folded for long periods of time often may be safely flattened using carefully controlled humidification. ”  What does this mean?  That means not all books will benefit from this procedure.  Use this as a guide on determining whether a book or document will benefit from this procedure.  Do not do this procedure on a brand new modern age comic book.

THREE STEPS TO HUMIDIFICATION
“There are three basic steps to humidification: cleaning, humidifying, and weighting or flattening.   Each step requires somewhat specialized equipment that can be easily constructed from materials gathered from common sources, such as hardware and fabric stores.”

CLEANING FIRST
“It is important to remember that any dirt on the surface of the paper may become muddy during humidification and will set further into the paper fibers. This will make the paper difficult if not impossible to clean in the future. The surface of the paper should at least be swept with a soft, natural fiber brush before humidification. If the papers are heavily soiled, consult a paper conservator about surface cleaning before proceeding.”  Use tips on this guide using Absorene.

“Before proceeding with humidification, remove fasteners such as clips, staples, brads, and rubber bands. “

INSPECTION PROCESS
“Extreme care must be used when initially opening papers that have been folded or rolled. While some papers remain supple over time, others may grow increasingly fragile due to inherent  weaknesses, widely fluctuating temperature and relative humidity, or exposure to light and/or to chemicals in the atmosphere. As a result, paper remembers creases, folds, and curls. If records are not flattened carefully, they may crumble and their valuable information will be irretrievably lost.  Never attempt to open a rolled or folded piece of paper if you are uncertain of its physical condition,  particularly if the climate is extremely dry (less than 35% relative humidity).”

SOURCE: https://www.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/13-02.pdf

STAPLES AND RUST
So with that in mind, you really should remove the steel staples from the comic book.  With that disclaimer stated, we are not going to remove the staples from the comic book.  We are attempting to make improvements, not restorations.   Since the duration time period will be only 30 minutes, I do not believe that is long enough for iron oxidation to set in on a staple that currently shows no signs of rust.  Scientifically, and depending on your climate conditions, it’s more realistic to assume light rust would begin to set in at the microscopic level within 2 days.  Steel can start to corrode (microscopically) immediately upon exposure to the elements.  Since we are leaving the comic book in for 1-2 hours, it’s probably not going to cause rust.  The heat press will absorb the humidity moisture and dampness of the book within minutes before rust can take proceed.

SHOPPING LIST
Head to Home Depot or Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores and I’ll show you how to make your own moisture chamber for restoring or flattening rolled documents, posters, and comic books!

by KaptainMyke

You will need:

  1. One 40 quart plastic storage tub
  2. Five 4″ pvc plumbing pipe connectors to use as spacers
  3. One roll of Fiberglass or nylon window screen
  4. One Weber deluxe grilling pan
  5. One gallon of distilled water
  6. Timer
  7. Eyeballs
  8. Comic book that needs humidity or moisture treatment for pressing.  Not all comics benefit from this chamber.  Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age benefit the most.  I would not place modern comics in this chamber.
  9. Experience through trial and error
  10. Something heavy to place on top of lid like a bag of charcoal or dog food.  I use another storage tub full of supplies as a weight for the lid.
  11. Silicone Release Paper

See the following photos as an example to make your very own $50 hydration humidity chamber!

Dry Cleaning FIRST, then MOISTURE before PRESS
It is important to remember that any dirt on the surface of the paper may become muddy during humidification and will set further into the paper fibers. This will make the paper difficult if not impossible to clean in the future. The surface of the paper should at least be swept with a soft, natural fiber brush before humidification. If the papers are heavily soiled, consult a paper conservator about surface cleaning before proceeding.

Before proceeding with humidification, remove fasteners such as clips, staples, brads, and rubber bands. “

SOURCE: https://www.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/13-02.pdf

DRY CLEAN + STAIN REMOVAL OF DOCUMENT OR COMIC BOOK FIRST
Inspect the book or document first and lift any folded over creases and flaps.  Lightly dust off and wipe the surface clean lightly with a lotion free Kleenex or dust cloth.  Be sure to dry clean your book or document with Absorene and other materials mentioned in this guide.

TIME DURATION OF BOOKS INSIDE CHAMBER
15-30 minutes is probably ideal for most books.  Keep it to a minimum and start slowly.  Too much moisture can and will ruin a book!

PRESS COMIC BOOK OR DOCUMENT INSIDE HIGH HEAT PRESS
Begin to press the book or document for the first time at 150 degrees for 5-7 minutes on front side up with two sheets of silicone release paper above and below the comic book.  After the initial 15 minutes, replace the 2 sheets of silicone release paper and flip the book over, rear cover side up.  Turn off the press.  Cool down the book for 1-2 hours.  Replace the sheets now with one sheet above and below the book and proceed to press as normal.  150 degrees on one side for 5 minutes, flip the book and repeat.  Turn off press with the heat off.  Leave book in press as heat exchange cools down.  Cool down book for 12-24 hours or more for final press.

PHOTO STEP-BY-STEP BUILDING OF YOUR HUMIDITY CHAMBER
This method is recommended over using a Conair clothes humidifier steam gun.  It’s safer, too!

One 40 quart plastic storage tub

One 40 quart plastic storage tub

One 40 quart plastic storage tub

One 40 quart plastic storage tub

Five 4" pvc plumbing pipe connectors to use as spacers

Five 4″ pvc plumbing pipe connectors to use as spacers

One roll of Fiberglass or nylon window screen

One roll of Fiberglass or nylon window screen

One roll of Fiberglass or nylon window screen

One roll of Fiberglass or nylon window screen

One Weber deluxe grilling pan

One Weber deluxe grilling pan. You can probably find any grille surface but be mindful of divets or ripples in your books. Less surface area is better. Do not use a wire grille!

Five 4" pvc plumbing pipe connectors to use as spacers

Place the five 4″ pvc plumbing pipe connectors to use as spacers in the bottom of the storage tub.

Weber deluxe grilling pan.

Set your Weber deluxe grilling pan on top of the pvc pipe spacers. This keeps your book away from water directly.

Fiberglass or nylon window screen

Set your Fiberglass or nylon window screen on top of the grille surface as a barrier from the metal rack and your comic book. This will allow your book to breathe better.

Fiberglass or nylon window screen

Place a second set of Fiberglass or nylon window screen above your book, so that there is 2 screens below and 2 screens above your book. This also helps push the book down gently without using extra weight.

One 40 quart plastic storage tub

Pour 1 half gallon of distilled water into the bottom of the chamber.
Close the lid on the storage tub with your book inside.

Distilled water

Pour 1 half gallon of distilled water into the bottom of the chamber.
Close the lid on the storage tub with your book inside.

Distilled water

Pour 1 half gallon of distilled water into the bottom of the chamber.
Close the lid on the storage tub with your book inside.

distilled water

Pour 1 half gallon of distilled water into the bottom of the chamber.
Close the lid on the storage tub with your book inside.

You should see condensation or humidity start to take place inside the chamber.

You should see condensation or humidity start to take place inside the chamber.

Wait 1-2 hours.

Wait 15-30 minutes. Keep checking on the book to make sure nothing has moved or slid out of place.

Fogging up!

Wait 15-30 minutes. Keep checking on the book to make sure nothing has moved or slid out of place.

After 2 hours remove book.

After 15-30 minutes remove book. This book was left inside over night as an initial test. I would recommend 15 minutes to be safe.  Do not leave your books in overnight.  Period.

Book should feel heavy and feel damp but not soaked.

Book should feel damp but not soaked.  This book was left inside over night as an initial test. I would recommend 15-30 minutes to be safe.

Book should feel heavy and feel damp but not soaked.

Book should feel damp but not soaked.

Book should feel heavy and feel damp but not soaked.

Book should feel damp but not soaked.

Book should feel heavy and feel damp but not soaked.

Book should feel damp but not soaked.

This piece of paper was lifted after the first pressing of the damp book.

This piece of copy paper was lifted after the first pressing of the damp book.  It seemed to lift a lot of loose oil and staining but did not lift any ink or line art.  2 hours later it was completely dry and white again with no trace of designs from the comic book.

After 2 presses this book is completely dry and brighter and whiter than before.

After 2 presses this book is completely dry and brighter and whiter than before.

After 2 presses this book is completely dry and brighter and whiter than before.

After 2 presses this book is completely dry and brighter and whiter than before.

After 2 presses this book is completely dry and brighter and whiter than before.

After 2 presses this book is completely dry and brighter and whiter than before.

 

Did Dr Manhattan just…Time Travel in real life and reset the DC Universe?

Quote

A big rumour or theory circulating the ‘net is that a page in Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #4 “reveals” that Dr. Manhattan created the DC Comics New 52 or the DC Comics Rebirth’d Earth. Dr. Manhattan creates the new DC Universe 4 years before the 2016 DC Rebirth event!

(2011) Before Watchmen: Dr Manhattan #4 displays this in glorious blue panels on the interior pages

(2016) end of DC Universe: Rebirth #1

(1986) Watchmen #12: between Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias.

[DROPS THE MIC.]