We have many occasions to use cradles. Including, in the lab while working on delicate materials and for viewing the text of fragile bindings. In an effort to create a new standard for the lab to store with a book, I revisited the construction of a collapsible cradle that fits inside a corrugated clamshell box.
View of clamshell when lid is opened:
Opening the cradle by lifting the cloth tapes:
Obtuse (left) and acute (right) arm openings are adjustable:
The integral cradle is removable for display!
I am intrigued by this integral cradle system for a few important reasons:
- The cradle is custom fit for the individual book’s opening and is stored safely with the book in the corrugated clamshell so it won’t become lost.
- The cradle can be made adjustable to accommodate the book’s special handling needs by adding in additional notches.
- The cradle has a base, making it removable from the box. This enables diversity in placement of the supported book. For example, librarians can remove the cradle from the box for exhibition.
- This system is light, yet durable.
- This system is fast and easy to create.
- This system can be shelved with other books making it easily stored and accessible.
Considering all the cradles I have made so far, this one is by far the easiest and fastest to complete!
For a “one size fits all” solution, check out our blog on Elizabeth’s Rideout’s Collapsible Book Cradle.
It has been fun to explore solutions for this support mechanism to strengthen our arsenal of weaponry in the war of conservation!
Chris Voynovich (PLCH) – Conservation Technician
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.
I love to design and make things work! Recently I have had the opportunity to kick around a new contraption for displaying or otherwise supporting books, the collapsible book cradle.
These guys are handy for keeping a book stable for viewing which greatly reduces the wear and tear on the object through excessive handling. The cradle is also useful as a support for a book in delicate condition for the conservator or tech to perform repairs.
This particular cradle design also has the feature to collapse to a book like shape which can be stored on the book shelf next to the other books when not in use. Thus the name “The collapsible book cradle”.
Since creating one from a web blog by Elissa Campbell, I have made one for a miniature book (it’s so cute!) and several to distribute to various departments. I’ve just finished one for an oversize book that was just treated in the lab for the UCL’s Classics Library.
In about 2 weeks I am going to be holding a workshop to make the cradles here at the lab. I think these are a great versatile tool easy to make and easy to store when not in use.
Chris Voynovich (PLCH) — Conservation Technician