TIP Sticky Wax

Reminder: All waxes are capable of leaving stains if left on an object for a long time. Limited use is better. Conservators recommend a barrier layer of B-72.*

Also remember that the wax is STICKY. The best way to use sticky wax is to use the smallest amount possible, perhaps around the size of a small peppercorn, or even a mustard seed, depending on the need. Work it between your fingers to soften it before sticking it to the bottom of the artifact and securing the artifact to the case deck. When "dried" the wax is quite strongly adhered to both the artifact and the surface it rest on. Using too much wax, rather then helping, can be problematical. In any case, to remove the artifact from the surface it is adhered to, "saw" it off gently with dental floss. Do not twist the artifact to free it. When the artifact is free, then remove the excess wax with a wooden or some other kind of soft scraper.

*B-72 is an acrylic resin in powdered form. When mixed with different solvents at different ratios it performs in various ways. It can be used as an adhesive, as a sealer or as a padded coating. As concerns our discussion, it is frequently used to seal specific areas on the bottom of an artifact where sticky wax is to be applied. The reason for this is that the sticky wax, however pure, contains petroleum products. These, if not sealed off, could wick into a porous artifact and be very hard to remove. Conservators are familiar with the use of B-72 and know how to remove it from an artifact (a difficult process nonetheless). So choosing the lesser of two evils, they apply the B-72 which they know they can remove, rather than risk the infiltration of the petroleum products. Consult an experienced conservator regarding appropriate formulations of B-72 to use.

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