Many of the notebooks, recipebooks, fieldbooks, diaries, weather journals, flight logs, memoirs, scrapbooks, sketchbooks and albums I repair were never intended by the author to last beyond their lifetime. Perhaps the expense folks outlay to repair, conserve and protect them might even horrify the owner that their mess, musings and written debris are attracting so much attention.

Hand notes, notebooks and rough jottings seem in the moment to be unworthy of paper and ink that is meant to last, but the personal written expression of human thought, exploration and discovery are, more than ever, family artifacts in the making. You just never know what will be considered precious by your descendants; sometimes it is just luck or attrition that determines what is kept  – “it’s just grandad’s fishing notes, but it is all we have left that is written in his hand”


– WRITE IN GRAPHITE PENCIL. It is more gentle on paper, and is much more stable over time than many modern inks.
-If you must use ink, TRY TO USE THE ONE PEN FOR ALL NOTES IN THE BOOK – ink is made in various ways over time, and more than one kind or age of ink on a page is much more difficult to clean or repair years in the future.
– USE ACID FREE OR COTTON PAPER. It will last longer, and is more predictable when being recovered, repaired and even washed in the future.
– USE WATER-BASED OR ALCOHOL-BASED colours but not both on the one page, as it makes cleaning and repairing later much more difficult.
– AVOID METAL FASTENERS like paperclips, staples and pins, as they rust over time.
– CHOOSE COMMON PASTE OVER ADHESIVE TAPE, because paste is easily reversible when repairing and conserving, and tape is evil.

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