This tool is my ‘extra finger’. I am sure many conservators have a similar tool as their BF, and there are various models around. I sharpened the edges of this Tiranti 157 double-ended spatula model slightly, so that it is even finer and gets in between tight layers of mountboard, but rounded off any burrs: the sharpening is to make the profile of the spatula even thinner, but not as sharp as a blade. The larger end is slightly bent through time and use and doubles up as a handy small bone folder when time is of the essence.
My Tiranti lifts, uncurls, examines, and handles delicately whatever I ask it to do. I don’t think I could approach any job without this little fellow at hand!
Isabelle Egan worked as a conservator of works of art on paper at the British Library for over 8 years. She now works as an independent conservator, specialising in large works of art on paper, maps and papyrus. She currently chairs the Book & Paper Group of Icon, the UK professional body for conservation.