When you don’t have the right tool for the job…


Conservation
January 13, 2015

…make one!

Brush after modification with pliers
Brush after modification

I was working on removing dust from a theatre set model while the studio was quiet during the gap between Christmas and New Year.

It was mostly straightforward, but there was one balcony that I just couldn’t get to with my straight brushes – every point of access I tried only allowed me to clean very small areas. Tricky.

Trying to brush the balcony from the front © Victoria and Albert Museum, London/John Gunter
Trying to brush the balcony from the outside, I can only reach the corner. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London/John Gunter

I looked into buying an angled brush – there are several sizes of make-up brush with angled handles available – but these turned out to be expensive and, more importantly, would have required me to go out in the Boxing Day sales to hunt for one. No thank you.

Instead I found a brush I didn’t use for much, had a look at our tool wall and decided to try modifying it myself with the flat jaw pliers.

 

Paper Conservation tool wall. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Paper Conservation tool wall. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

A quick squeeze to flatten the ferrule, a gentle bend, and hey presto a new tool was born, perfect for reaching that balcony. Now next time I need one it will be in my tool kit, ready to go.

 

Modified brush in use on the model. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London/John Gunter
Modified brush in use on the model. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London/John Gunter
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