Rolling out Elizabeth Rideout’s collapsible book cradle

Last month our lab hosted a little workshop, taught by talented conservation technician, Chris Voynovich (PLCH), on collapsible book cradles. The workshop came about after our conservator shared images of Elizabeth Rideout’s collapsible book cradle with us and explained how beneficial this would be for the special collections holding libraries to have cradles like this on hand. Chris, who is usually the go-to technician in the lab for tricky enclosures, jumped at the opportunity to create a cradle. So without any instructions available he made a collapsible, adjustable cradle based on the images of Rideout’s cradle online. Chris then wrote up some instructions for a standard size cradle that fits most books. With the instructions on hand we went ahead and planned the workshop, inviting colleagues from both UCL and PLCH.

 

Chris explaining the collapsible cradle and how it works.

Chris explaining the collapsible cradle and how it works.

Prior to the workshop the conservation techs prepared the materials (except for the cloth – allowing people to choose whichever cloth they preferred) and set up our handy rolling table for people to work on. Having all the materials prepped in advance was a big help since the workshop participants ranged from beginner to expert.

Holly explaining the advantages of a Teflon bonefolder to UCL communications coop student, Anna.

Holly explaining the advantages of a Teflon bonefolder to UCL communications coop student, Anna.

Chris showing Cade Stevens from the Classics Library how to use the board shears to cut his cloth.

Chris showing Cade Stevens from the Classics Library how to use the board shears to cut his cloth.

With the instructions, the cradle is fairly simple for those with some experience in book making and book construction. The construction of the cradle arms and the base is very similar to a basic cloth case for a book. You adhere 80pt board to a large piece of cloth, using a jig (3 pieces of 80pt board glued together) to create gaps between the boards that allow the cradle arms to fold and move. The edges of the cloth are turned in and then a second, smaller piece of cloth is adhered to the top of the board pieces and molded into the gaps between the boards.

Senior conservation tech, Pat, working on one of the cradle arms.

Senior conservation tech, Pat, working on one of the cradle arms.

Our pre-program intern, Catarina, covering one of her cradle arms in navy Cialux.

Our pre-program intern, Catarina, covering one of her cradle arms in navy Cialux.

The cradle-making master himself in action!  While everyone in the workshop made standard sized cradles, Chris worked on an oversized cradle specifically for the Classics Library.

The cradle-making master himself in action! While everyone in the workshop made standard sized cradles, Chris worked on an oversized cradle specifically for the Classics Library.

Kevin Grace, head of the Archives and Rare Books Library (UC), adhering all his Velcro pieces.

Kevin Grace, head of the Archives and Rare Books Library (UC), adhering all his Velcro pieces.

Once the cradle arms and case are assembled attach Velcro to the indicated areas and then VOILA! You have a handy, portable, collapsible cradle. It’s easy to store and very versatile.

Chris admiring Catarina’s finished cradle.

Chris admiring Catarina’s finished cradle.

Holly showing Anna how the finished cradle works and why it is such a great tool to have on hand, especially for books being exhibited.

Holly showing Anna how the finished cradle works and why it is such a great tool to have on hand, especially for books being exhibited.

The workshop was a great success! Our colleagues all walked away with a finished cradle (or several, since the conservation techs cradles were created for special collections). After the workshop Chris and I worked on the original instructions he created; making sure to answer any questions and fill in any gaps that came up during the workshop. If you are interested in making a collapsible cradle yourself, you can download a copy of our instructions HERE. Enjoy!

Jessica Ebert (UCL) — Conservation Technician

 

Leave a Reply