Thursday, May 3, 2012

1916 California State Map Mini Episode 3

When we left off yesterday the map had been mounted face down with a hollytex facing and was in the process of drying enough for us to remove the old linen backing on it.

Pictured: Ever seen really calm water where you know something with really big teeth is lurking just under the surface? Same feeling here. Underneath this flat surface of linen is paper that wants to fall apart.

We do a facing on the pieces that have backings that need to be removed and its always an experiment to find the right time when the piece has dried enough to hold it to the hollytex and the board, but still damp enough to be able to peel off the old backing.  John made a small incision in the middle of the linen for us to begin pulling it off the map. The nice thing about this old linen was that it was easy to pull it into strips that came off easily.

Pictured: We made a small cut in the center from which we could start peeling back the linen.

Pictured: Here you can see that as we pull back the linen, small pieces of the map are missing.

The middle section of the map was not difficult for the most part. We kept the linen as flat against the map as possible to prevent it from lifting up off the hollytex.

Pictured: Gabe is pulling one side, while I'm on the other pulling the other piece from the center.
Pictured: As we moved out towards the edges more and more pieces were missing.
While the center of the map, although missing a piece here and there, was pretty stable the edges were another thing altogether. For a while it was a no breathing zone around that map as we carefully stripped off the linen while leaving each individual piece of paper that wanted to flake off where it belonged.

Pictured: I think in this picture Gabe and I are both holding our breath as we work along the edges.

Pictured: This one was too good not to throw in. As Gabe and I are concentrating really hard, Aaron is in the background posing!

In some areas around the edges we left them until the very end so that they could dry a little bit longer, making it a little bit easier to remove the linen without taking the flaking paper with it. 

Pictured: John climbed onto a ladder to get a more complete shot.

Pictured: Gabe and I worked in tandem to strip the linen from the center out.

Pictured: As you can see from this angle, the hollytex facing is doing its job by providing a surface for the map to cling to while we took off the linen.

 There were parts that just didn't want to stay where they were supposed to, so we kept the linen close to the paper and used a palette knife to hold the pieces in place if necessary.

Pictured: There were some pieces that weren't attached to any other part of the map, so I used a palette knife to hold them in place.

Pictured: We loved this close up photo with the little bubbles!

Pictured: I was talking to the paper the whole time coaxing it to stay where it was and this corner piece was particularly nerve wracking, but its my favorite part of the map now!

Pictured: When we were done the linen strips looked like we had just unwrapped a mummy.
 We finally got it all off! Huge sigh of relief!

Pictured: A final shot of the border of the map where we managed to save almost every single piece!

The map was left to dry face down over night. What will we do next? I guess you'll have to come back tomorrow to find out!

It should be noted that several crucial steps in our process have been omitted. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us via email at or by phone at 818.882.1214. Also check out our websites: and Please feel free to leave comments or questions on the blog!

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