An investigation of the use of cellulose-based materials to gap-fill wooden objects

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Kate Fulcher;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 62, Number 4, p.210-222 (2017)


The conservation of wooden objects is complicated by their response to changes in their environment. In particular, filling voids in wooden objects can be difficult when their dimensions might be expected to alter over time. A short survey of conservators showed that a wide variety of materials have been, and are being used for this purpose. Following conservation work undertaken on a wooden coffin, the author wished to investigate the properties of cellulosic materials and their suitability in the conservation of wooden objects. This paper shares the results of experiments that were conducted to determine the way in which hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC) and paper pulp fills respond in various conditions, as compared to other fill materials used by conservators. The compatibility of the HPC and paper pulp fills with wood is satisfactory enough to be able to recommend their use in the conservation of wooden artefacts, but ideally further experiments would be carried out, and on a wider variety of fill materials.