DIY conservation using B72

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Bootneck45RM
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DIY conservation using B72

Post by Bootneck45RM » Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:49 pm

Hi all
Thought it may be of interest to anyone wanting to protect, enhance or conserve those small items within their finds. This is the method I've been using and have found it to be successful.
It is not to museum or archaeologist standard but will provide protection and enhance some of our finds.
IF THOUGH YOU ARE NOT SURE WHAT YOU'VE FOUND, (it may be priceless) check with someone who can help before starting (MDF, club member or FLO) before going ahead. Once you have started cleaning etc you may have difficulty going backwards from each change you had made to the item in the first instance.
The nice thing about B72 (IMO) is that it can be applied and then recoated as required. Or, if it needs removing altogther, neat Acetone can be used to remove the B72 and revert the item to how it was originally.
Also be aware that the fluids used are harmful to health - so anyone doing it for themselves, adopt a safe practise of protection to skin, inhalation and to your surroundings.
These are not instructions, simply how I've been doing it and I would appreciate any comments and advice on how to improve the process.
All items are cheap and easily sourced from local pharmacies and supermarkets. No single item in my kit cost more than £2, so the whole kit can be made for about £10. This will make 100 mls of varying %age solution (to your needs). The final solution lasts for ages and goes a long way.
20191111_144621.jpg
Whatever you are cleaning, conserving, make sure the item is clean and dry before application of B72. I've lightly washed coins (try to use distilled water) and then hot air dried them to make sure no trace of moisture is left that continue the process of degredation after the application of B72.

My method:
(For example I'm making a 10 % soltion of B72, by weight to volume)
Initially fill the little jar with water and mark the level that 100 mls comes to using a marker pen or sellotape.
Then empty out the water leaving the mark visible.
Empty into the marked jar 50 mls of Acetone (cover).
Take 10 gms of B72 pellets and wrap them in a 6" square of cheesecloth. (Bit like a little dim sung parcel).
Use the strong cotton thread to secure the parcel, leaving enough thread to hang the parcel inside the jar.
Lower the B72 parcel, partially, into the neat Acetone, ensuring the bottom of the parcel containing the pellets is in the Acetone.
Now using the tail of cotton thread secure the jar lid and ensure the cotton thread is secured and still has the parcel partially submerged.
Now make cup of tea and fetch biscuits!
After a couple of hours you will find that the pellets are dissolving into the Acetone. This can be clearly seen happening.
Agitate the liquid occasionally and gently.
When all trace of pellets are gone, remove the now empty cheesecloth parcel and thread (dispose of safely).
Then take the final 50 mls of Acetone and slowly add, until the originally marked 100 ml level has been reached. Then stop pouring!
Re attach the lid and gently swirl.
You now have 100 mls of 10% solution of B72 paraloid ready for application.
By varying the w/v amounts differing % solutions are achieved.

When you apply the solution (say to a coin) the Acetone evaporates very quickly leaving a coating of B72 on the coin. Don't hold the coin whilst applying, I use a beer mat to rest the coin etc upon. It can be a pain (literally) if it gets on your skin so wash it off quickly if it does.

As I said before, these are not instruction, simply a method I have found works for me.
Hope it helps in some way and don't forget if you do try it, practice on something of little value to start with.

Good luck
Len 😀👍
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Re: DIY conservation using B72

Post by FULLTIMER » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:15 pm

Might be worth advising anyone doing this NOT to smoke or have a naked flame etc anywhere near the acetone, highly inflammable stuff that acetone.
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Re: DIY conservation using B72

Post by Wuntbedruv » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:39 pm

Thanks for the post, but I feel like I must say that there is absolutely no need to slather stuff in Paraloid B72 in order to preserve it. In fact, preserving artefacts is really much more simple.

All you need to do is regulate moisture, meaning you can keep your finds well preserved by spending slightly less than the above method requires. How to achieve this? Simply, 'silica gel'. You can buy sachets extremely cheaply online. Simply store objects or coins in small crystal boxes within a larger airtight dry-box (both cheap on archaeological supply sites) and throw in a few sachets of silica gel with an indicator strip. Storing the box in a relatively dry place in the first place will additionally help. You will need to change the sachets every few weeks as they absorb moisture, drying those used previously in the oven at a fairly low temperature. They change colour as they the latter happens, when they are saturated they turn blue (when fresh, they are clear).

Unless an object is actively corroding (e.g. bits coming off it, green powder rubbing off on finger) then you don't really need to worry.

Seems to be this misconception going round that by 'sealing' an object you are protecting it. However, if you don't use a vacuum chamber to remove every bit of moisture you will still be sealing it in when you douse it in Paraloid-which is not good.

Would encourage folks to always seek professional help about conservation issues via their FLO or a conservator directly (there are many online who are happy to help detectorists).

Remember, an object only requires 'conservation' if there is something actively happening to it that is degrading it. The best preventative is the above method.
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Re: DIY conservation using B72

Post by Bootneck45RM » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:34 pm

Two good responses so far both with helpful advice that can be taken on board. W's in particular is ideal for those tiny coins etc etc. I will try not to 'slather' and 'douse' most certainly!
One of my permissions is a building under renovation but which is open to the public, and many of the items found, both personal and structural are put on display for visitors to touch and appreciate. Some of these are not valuable but encourage visitors and help with contributions. I have found that when cleaned and 'lightly' covered with B72 they have given visitors a better experience as they can be handled easily and be kept clean for future viewing.
Thanks both of you
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Re: DIY conservation using B72

Post by jcmaloney » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:40 am

Time for my favourite link............... https://finds.org.uk/documents/file/PAS ... 18-all.pdf

::g ::g
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Re: DIY conservation using B72

Post by ratty » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:03 am

Good link.. ::g

Others which i found useful...

https://www.preservationequipment.com/C ... -P422-9250


https://www.preservationequipment.com/f ... %20Use.pdf

Acetone in small bottles is a ripoff, I use quite a lot so i buy bulk and split it with a friend.


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Re: DIY conservation using B72

Post by Bootneck45RM » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:01 am

Thanks ratty and jcm; both helpful links, especially the p.a.s. site.
Much appreciated 😀
Can see why its your favourite, and will be helpful to many others. 👍
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Re: DIY conservation using B72

Post by Edurley » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:22 am

Some good input on this thread, Have you ever used the B72 as a glue to repair anything?
Ed ::g

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Re: DIY conservation using B72

Post by Bootneck45RM » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:43 pm

Hi Edurley,
Have attempted to, but not in earnest, I believe the % concentration has to be much greater than I normally used.
From the p.a.s.site it shows it can be used as both adhesive and filler. The fact that its not high tack means the object can be moved easily if not put in right place first time.
Good link above from jcm for the p.a.s.site.
Cheers
Len
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Re: DIY conservation using B72

Post by sweepstick47 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 6:54 pm

Here's a post on the cleaning aspects of B72 which may be of interest:-

Paraloid B-72 Regards ss47
A disservice is no service at all.

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Re: DIY conservation using B72

Post by Bootneck45RM » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:01 pm

Thanks Eric 👍
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