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  #1  
Old 03-30-2006, 03:10 PM
Birdmonster Birdmonster is offline
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What's the best way to dry out a book?

Millions,

So, I was spoiling myself with a long bath, a few cigarettes, and a novel whilst I soaked. While extinguishing one of those luxurious cigarettes, I knocked my book into the bath where it sat for a good 15 seconds before I found it. That was depressing. So, now I have a 500 page, sopping wet paperback.

My question: anyone have slick ideas as how to dry this puppy out? Right now, I'm breaking the spine and it's hanging on a towel rack, but there's got to be a better way. Any brilliant suggestions?
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  #2  
Old 03-30-2006, 03:13 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Hair dryer? That might work. An oven turned to the lowest setting might work as well. Just don't let it stay wet for too long.

That book is going to have pages like potato chips when it dries but you should still be able to read it. White-out the copyright date and tell people it is a very old family heirloom.
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  #3  
Old 03-30-2006, 03:27 PM
vetbridge vetbridge is offline
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A friend had the same exact thing happen with her organic chemistry textbook. She continued to lug it to class, even though it was 12 feet thick.

Best of luck.

When a friend had photographs get soaked in a flood, we got help from archivists via this thread:
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=262267
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  #4  
Old 03-30-2006, 03:28 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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A microwave oven is a POOR choice for book drying.
I tried it on a wet paperback, and the book caught fire.
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  #5  
Old 03-30-2006, 04:00 PM
Birdmonster Birdmonster is offline
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Squink: I was literally on my way to the microwave but thought I'd check the thread first...bad birdmonster. Wait for the learned ones, then act. I just really want to finish this puppy.
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  #6  
Old 03-30-2006, 04:05 PM
jjimm jjimm is offline
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I always used to put my bathed books (and there have been many) on a radiator. The effect this has is to dry the book, while fluffing the pages out like a little baby chick, and making them brittle as hell in the future, and making the book semicircular from above at about five times the width that it was.

I have since learned the technique of taking the wet book and compressing it under something very heavy, like several telephone directories and a table, and leaving it thus for several days. Alas this means you can't read it during the process. Then place it flat on top of a radiator for a couple of weeks. It restores the book to almost its original mode of tactility.

P.S. Cigarettes in the bath? I like it. Combine with coffee, or a really big glass of chilled white wine, for extra effect.
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  #7  
Old 03-30-2006, 04:25 PM
Lissa Lissa is offline
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The Library of Congress recommends this:

Quote:
Air-drying Books:

* Fan books open and stand on top or bottom edge; never stand them on the front edge.
* Stand books on driest edge first to provide support. As the book dries turn it upside-down to the opposite edge every few hours.

Place a sheet of waxed paper larger than the pages between the front and back cover and adjacent page before standing on edges. Replace the interleaving as it becomes saturated.

When the book is no longer wet, but still cool to the touch, close and place on a solid surface with a slight weight to keep distortion to a minimum. Check frequently to ensure that no mold is growing.
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  #8  
Old 03-30-2006, 04:34 PM
OneCentStamp OneCentStamp is online now
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I wouldn't use this for a Gutenberg Bible, but...

...I dropped my paperback copy of Children of Dune into the sink once when I was like 14. In a fit of teen nerd ingenuity, I squeezed (squoze?) out as much water as I could by pressing on the closed book. Then I doused, nay, drenched the book with rubbing alcohol (85% isopropyll alcohol) and left it on my sunny windowsill, open. It was bone dry in less than an hour, and in good shape.
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  #9  
Old 03-30-2006, 04:39 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneCentStamp
...I dropped my paperback copy of Children of Dune into the sink once when I was like 14. In a fit of teen nerd ingenuity, I squeezed (squoze?) out as much water as I could by pressing on the closed book. Then I doused, nay, drenched the book with rubbing alcohol (85% isopropyll alcohol) and left it on my sunny windowsill, open. It was bone dry in less than an hour, and in good shape.
That is brilliant although I can see some inks not reacting well to that treatment.
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  #10  
Old 03-30-2006, 04:53 PM
Birdmonster Birdmonster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneCentStamp
...I dropped my paperback copy of Children of Dune into the sink once when I was like 14. In a fit of teen nerd ingenuity, I squeezed (squoze?) out as much water as I could by pressing on the closed book. Then I doused, nay, drenched the book with rubbing alcohol (85% isopropyll alcohol) and left it on my sunny windowsill, open. It was bone dry in less than an hour, and in good shape.
I was going with the fan, but this is too cool not to try. It's like a middle school science project. To the grocery store!
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  #11  
Old 03-30-2006, 04:56 PM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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There was a gigantic flood in Florence (?) in the 70s I think. They put thin blotters between the pages of all the ancient books. I'm sure that cost a fortune, but...
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  #12  
Old 03-30-2006, 05:26 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalhoun
There was a gigantic flood in Florence (?) in the 70s I think. They put thin blotters between the pages of all the ancient books. I'm sure that cost a fortune, but...
Freeze drying might be the method of choice today.
Review of methods: Drying Web Books and Records
If you don't have a vacuum pump and chamber:
Quote:
Books and records that are only damp or moderately wet may be dried successfully in a self-defrosting blast freezer if left there long enough.
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