A microspatula by any other name…

…would be just as useful. Following a recent orientation I gave for student employees within IU University Archives, it occurred to me that a microspatula can be just about as useful to archivists as it is to conservators. These small, hand-held pieces of metal with both rounded and tapered ends never fail in helping us with our jobs. I decided that an informal poster might be just the thing to spread the word to students and share with fellow conservators, so Paper Conservation Technician Hannah Helton and I set to work making one. The list certainly isn’t exhaustive (other uses range from spreading poultices and setting down flaking paint, to cleaning fingernails and using as a hair stick!) but you may learn a new tip nevertheless.

A poster showing the uses of the microspatula when processing archival materials or conducting conservation treatments.

How do you use your microspat?

An 11 x 17″ .pdf copy of our poster is available here: Link to poster

Alternately, for those who may be using text readers, here are the tips:

For processing of archival materials, the spatula can be used to

  • remove staples
  • leaf through fragile papers
  • score and crease paper
  • slit paper
  • remove loose cellophane tape
  • as an impromptu placeholder in stacks of paper

For conservation of paper-based materials, the spatula can be used for

  • applying paste and glue in hard to access places
  • picking at and removing accretions
  • splitting and lifting boards or paper
  • stirring
  • incorporating glue and solids to make filler material
  • removing caked glue and paste from brushes

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