Disc perforat de cartró
Research projects

Cleaning and preserving cardboard records

In 2006, a year after moving to the new building where we are now, a process of cleaning and restoration of some of the perforated cardboard discs from the collection of the Museu de la Música de Barcelona began.

We will take one as an example, Las Ninas del Ter, ridogón pastoril, by Josep Anselm Clavé (FSDP 0065), published by Herophon label, with which the following steps were taken by the restorer Sandra Vílchez.

At the beginning a general observation is always necessary, indicating the square shape of brown cardboard, the measures of 33x33cm, with the title printed in black ink. On the corners there are tabs in the shape of a half cane that are used to attach the disc to the instrument. On the four corners there are brass protections with a certain degree of oxidation.

Detall de disc de cartró perforat Herophone
Detail before cleaning.

The organoleptic examination indicated superficial dirt, general oxidation of the metal parts, mechanical tears in the perforations of the cardboard -produced by the same mechanism of the device that makes the disc sound or by careless handling-, and undulations of the support.

The intervention proposal focused on the mechanical cleaning of both parts of the cardboard (front and back) with different hardness rubbers, mechanical cleaning of the metal parts, consolidation of tears and deteriorated parts, chromatic retouching with watercolors, and a process of flattening cardboard with controlled humidity and weight.

To ensure a good state of conservation of the cardboard, the following steps were followed:

  • Mechanical cleaning of the cardboard support, dry, with rubber powder, Milan and Standler rubber pads and Hyperaser abrasive rubber.
  • Mechanical cleaning of the metal parts with fine steel wool and Hyperaser rubber.
  • Consolidation of small tears and deteriorated parts with 5% Tylose MH300 and a spindle moulder, which was used to put the detached parts back in place.
  • Chromatic retouching of the worn and discolored parts with Van Gock watercolors.
  • Smoothing of the piece with flexible and drying protection and with controlled humidity and weight, avoiding wetting the metal parts.
Disc netejat
Record with the final result.

Now in the following link you can read about the digitization process and, of course, listen to the cardboard discs here.