FOXIT - a product to remove foxing

deaconsbench

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
May 30, 2005
Posts
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From
historic Charleston, SC
I came across this product name on a Google search, but can't seem to find a supplier. Does anyone know where this can be found, or what do you do to remove foxing (ferris oxide staining) from collectible paper? I'm not interested in any sort of bleaching, as it damages the fibers and makes the collectible look fake. Many thanks.
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I don't know anything about the product you mentioned but I would suggest that this would be a job for a paper conservator.
 
Where is your sense of adventure?
I have a few damaged engravings unsuitable for framing that will serve as 'experience-builders'. My inventory of antique engravings and maps make farming work out too costly to for me to turn an acceptable profit margin. Of course, I could leave them in their affected state, which would prohibit setting a suitable sales price. This is not something I have to do anytime soon, and will continue to look for a safe remedy. Thanks for your response - advice is well taken!
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Hi Deaconsbench -

Why don't you have a paper conservator look at the collection and see what you can work out. It might not be as expensive as you think, especially if they are black ink etchings, no handcoloring.

You might even see if you can have them teach you basic wash and light bleach (or whatever treatment proposal is arrived at) if you're willing to invest in equipment and are the patient fussy type, who is willing to read and learn.

I say this because I tried to impart some basic concepts into a bookbinders head, and he just could not get into the mindset. He was quite sure of the value and importance of the binding part of his craft, but could not/would not accept that paper needed to be treated carefully and gently. He was WAY too heavy handed, with predictable poor results. Unfortunately, he couldn't even see that his results were poor! :(

Rebecca
 
Rebecca correct me if I'm wrong ,but I thought the origin/cause of "FOXING"on paper born art was not exactly certain ? Furthermore if my high school chemistry is correct ( which I flunked ,even though I went on to pre-pharmacy and working in an Oil refinery) "Ferris-Oxide" is nothing else but "RUST'

From what I remember Ferris or Ferrous is the Generic name for "IRON" and an "OXIDE" is the oxidated state of the element that, that word is attached to Like Aluminum -Oxide ,Copper -oxide are the chemical names for aluminum and copper tarnish ? Or what happens when a metal or other substance comes in contact with an Oxygen rich atmosphere. And as best I know the FOXING of PAPER may have nothing to do with the IRON content or contact of the paper.

So A Ferris -oxide remover may be a "RUST" remover not unlike "Naval -Jelly".
BUDDY
 
Hi Buddy -

Yes, ferrous oxide is rust. I can't believe you flunked chemistry - you certainly know a lot!

There are lots of theories. Some, that foxing has to have a small iron/iron compound nucleus. Some, that it is a mold/fungus thing. Some, a combination. Sometimes it is flyspecks.

Personally, I think foxing is a generic term that describes a lot of things. I prefer the term "small spots of discoloration". ;)

If there is an actual tiny dark speck in the center of the discoloration, chances are it is a metal problem. Rust, and/or the metal acts as a catalyst, resulting in a small area of accelerated aging in the paper.

If it is no tiny dark center, it could be a mold/fungus thing.

Chelating agents, like citric acid or EDTA can be used to tie up the offending agents, and washed away. Or sometimes pre treating with dilute hydrogen peroxide, immersing in water bath and light bleaching. Though if it IS iron, hydrogen peroxide can be catalyzed by the metal and cause further problems....

I can't remember what naval jelly is - I mean I know what it does, and that a final rinse with acetone is good, to remove water so the metal doesn't rust further, but I don't remember the actual ingredient)s). Do you know?

Rebecca
 
Rebecca now you have shown why I flunked.LOL You have seen the gamut of my knowledge.

But as you seem to be indicateing there is no clear cause of FOXING in Paper born art. But most compelling is your concern that some Foxing treatments may actually make metal ( iron/Ferrris -Oxide) contamination worse.

I simply suggested Naval Jelly since it does in deed remove Ferris-oxide from metal impliments. Not to flaunt my ignorance further but if memory serves me there is another form of Naval-Jelly to remove Aluminum-oxide. However neither is a substance you would want to use on Paper-born art,and as you stated the treatment that does effect funginal foxing has a negative effect on any metal contamination occuring in paper.
BUDDY
 
Rebecca & Buddy - I came this close to understanding most of that! Thanks for the great idea jumpstarts. I'll have to dig around to see if a paper conservator person actually exists around here.
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Are you kidding?

I've heard you can't hardly throw a dead cat in historic Charleston, SC without hitting a paper conservator.
 
Ah, this is so true...but folks around here get a little ticked when you wack 'em with a dead cat.

It's just a matter of calling antique stores, colleges, museums, etc. to find out who does this in the public domain.
 
deaconsbench

I would feel that the most likey product would be Oxalic Acid it is used in all sorts of areas to remove rust stains, including wood & textiles. Since most paper is wood it would work how much & how long would be trial & error (I know of a second hand dealer who uses it all the time). If it's for your own work it would be worth a bit time to do some searching on the net & giving it a go.

David
 
The paper I deal with is mostly cotton (rag) fiber. Wood pulp process didn't arrive for several more years after the mid-1800's. The bulk of my inventory is US Civil War era and earlier. Thanks for your reply, David!
 
Rebecca, I just looked at your website, and I am sincerely impressed! I have a lot of studying to do to develop professional standards and methods, and this forum is proving invaluable in that effort. Thanks for sharing your expertise with me.
 
deaconsbench, Oxalic will work on rag it is used extensively in the textile trade. BTW it also has a bleaching effect & will kill mildew if it also present. If you decide to have a play with it checkout the Hazard sheets it is powerful stuff in the pure state, the concentrations you would be using will be fine for the substrates you’re treating
Have fun
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David
 
David your suggestion is very informative and deacon I think seeking out people like Rebecca may be a wise choice. However in an effort to help understand my prospective and why I think things aren't as clear as it may seem ,I found this explanation of "FOXING" which may put a littlle different spin on any decision to do self-consevation,and the complexities it may involve.

foxing ( foxmarks )
Stains, specks, spots and blotches in paper. The cause or causes of foxing, which usually occurs in machine-made paper of the late 18th and the 19th centuries, are not completely understood, but in all likelihood, it is fungoid in nature. Fungi, however, are not necessarily visible on foxed areas, nor does prolific growth necessarily imply excessive discoloration, and vice versa. This has been attributed partly to the fact that action may have been initiated before the examination of the paper, and partly, but less convincingly, to the so-called, action at a distance, which enables an agent to exert its effect at some distance from the object acted upon.
Two significant differences between foxed and clean areas of a paper are the higher proportion of acid and iron in the former, although there does not seem to be any clear and definitive relationship between iron and foxing. Insofar as the acid is involved, it is not clear whether this is produced chemically or as a byproduct of the life function of the organisms present. Iron is attributed to impurities present in the paper, and this conclusion seems to be based largely on the fact that it is seldom found in papers produced before the introduction of papermaking equipment made of iron, e.g., the beater, and improvements in techniques, including bleaching and other forms of chemical treatment. But what role iron has in accelerating foxing, or causing a change from the invisible to visible state, has yet to be demonstrated.

The other factor which controls foxing is relative humidity (R.H.), since these fungi will not develop if the R.H. falls below 75%. The fact that foxing generally starts from the edge of the leaf and spreads inward would seem to indicate that something in the atmosphere is relevant, although air borne organisms may be adequate as an explanation for this effect. In addition, it must still be explained how the center of the leaf is affected most in occasional instances. Perhaps the most logical explanation is that infection by air borne organisms (or by organisms that are natural to the paper) may occur if the conditions, and especially the R.H., are favorable, and that growth, resulting in the generation of fox marks, then occurs. The acid subsequently renders any iron in the paper soluble and therefore visible, with its color being intensified by the presence of organic matter.

The effects of foxing may be reduced to a reasonable extent by use of a reducing agent, such as sodium borohydride (NaBH 4 ) in a 0.5% solution by weight of the paper. This chemical has the advantage of not having to be washed out of the paper (and even depositing a small alkaline reserve—sodium tetraborate (Na 2 B 4 O 7 )—in the paper). Foxing may be counteracted to an even greater extent by the use of a 0.1% (by weight of the paper) solution of an oxidizing agent such as calcium hypochlorite (Ca(ClO)2); however, this chemical is very difficult to wash out after treatment. Unaffected papers may be successfully protected from foxing by maintaining the R.H. of the storage area below 50%. See also: DENDRITIC GROWTHS . (43 , 102 , 143 , 218 )


After reading this please refer back to Rebecca's warnnings about treating Iron contaminations with acid treatments.
BUDDY
 
Buddy, Ron's entry made it sound as though Charleston is a hotbed of sorts for conservation, while the opposite is true, insofar as the antiques market is concerned.

You will either see antique paper mounted (properly or more often, not!) with stains, wrinkles, foxing, and dirt glaringly visible, or some sort of bleach job (which makes it look like a modern photocopy). Certainly there is quality to be found, but only after sifting through some serious questionables.

This is a tourism market, with so much mediocrity in collectibles quality, I'm fairly surprised any of it sells. I guess as long as they have 'something from Charleston' they are happy. (The majority of antique furnishings found in high-end antique stores here came out of a shipping container, which probably came from Europe.)

The big money is South Of Broad (note S.O.B. - it's a local joke...), and certainly those folks would seek out professional conservators with their 'old money' family portraits and documents.

Again, I was truly impressed with Rebecca's credentials. If someday I have a 'holy grail' of a collectible, I would certainly search out someone of her abilities.

"What my Momma raised may very well be ugly, but he ain't stupid!" Thanks, all.


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Deacon not to worry .My post may make me seem like a conservation specialist ,when in fact I seldom deal with any true conservation work ( I give ALL work my best effort but I hardly call what I do CONSERVATION STANDARDS to any extent). However I did study enough ( CPF and RCPF) to know I best leave that sort of thing to the EXPERTS. By the way you could try inserting AIC in GOOGLE and see what you get in your area,you might be surprised how close one is.
BUDDY
 
Originally posted by deaconsbench:
Where is your sense of adventure?
I have a few damaged engravings unsuitable for framing that will serve as 'experience-builders'.
It is in this vein that I post my comments.

A watercolorist who uses sea salt for special effects does so without realising it can lead to foxing

The human body manufactures oxalic acid & eats it in many different vegetables

The educated artist will not use salt

The prudent eater will not over consume certain foods

Hey some of us have a quest for personal knowledge & experience & so continually strive to expand their personal horizons heck I would no way do it for a customer-but fom myself the sky is the limit, explore have some fun

Oxalic will remove both iron oxide & moulds the rust being converted to the oxalate & washed out much like Rebecca said "Chelating agents, like citric acid or EDTA can be used to tie up the offending agents, and washed away." At the right concentration it will do minimial harm for maximum result & that is what most strive for. ;) ;)
 
I'm none the wiser! I was looking years ago at how to get rid of foxing and also found the item that buddy found, so funnily enough it's on my Meyer Eberharde etching of a "fox cub" yes I know....we I gave up as was overwhelmed but tried a bit of bleach on a small area as I decided it was mould and therefore alive so I'd kill it, . It has since spread like wildfire all over and if it carries on poor fox will become one big peice of fox as blend in with it! Would sealing inside polythene airtight do it, i wonder, ??
 
The main skill with restoration is to know when to leave well alone. 😟

There are myriad patent methods and some will work and some won't. All papers are not created equal.
 
Buddy, Ron's entry made it sound as though Charleston is a hotbed of sorts for conservation, while the opposite is true, insofar as the antiques market is concerned.

You will either see antique paper mounted (properly or more often, not!) with stains, wrinkles, foxing, and dirt glaringly visible, or some sort of bleach job (which makes it look like a modern photocopy). Certainly there is quality to be found, but only after sifting through some serious questionables.

This is a tourism market, with so much mediocrity in collectibles quality, I'm fairly surprised any of it sells. I guess as long as they have 'something from Charleston' they are happy. (The majority of antique furnishings found in high-end antique stores here came out of a shipping container, which probably came from Europe.)

The big money is South Of Broad (note S.O.B. - it's a local joke...), and certainly those folks would seek out professional conservators with their 'old money' family portraits and documents.

Again, I was truly impressed with Rebecca's credentials. If someday I have a 'holy grail' of a collectible, I would certainly search out someone of her abilities.

"What my Momma raised may very well be ugly, but he ain't stupid!" Thanks, all.


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Waaaaay back in the day, we had a need for a paper conservator and found Marion L. Hunter in Charleston, SC. Yes, right in your neck of the woods. More recently, I was introduced to Virginia Newell in Columbia, SC. I don't have any contact info for Marion Hunter anymore, but I know they specialize in photographs and works on paper. Virginia does works on paper, paintings, and frames, to my knowledge. Search out Marion Hunter as a starting point perhaps.
 
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