The Staple and The Strong Man

We’ve recently received a set of cute books called, ‘Ten Ring Circus Books’. They are all about 65 x 85mm in size, and held inside a larger folder – 5 on each side.

The books' folder

The books’ folder

Considering the age group they were made for, it’s surprising that the books and packaging are all in quite good condition. The only treatment required before boxing will be paper repairs on some of the tears, and staple removal.

Inside the folder

Inside the folder with ‘Sam the Strong Man’ removed

Unfortunately, the staples are beginning to oxidise, which is beginning to migrate to the paper in the books. Our first reaction upon seeing this, was to investigate any methods of stabilising these areas. The staples are such an integral part of the whole make-up of the set, that it would be a pity to remove them, and change the feel of the package. We were hoping that some new cutting edge research would be published detailing how to treat oxidation so it stabilises and stops.

Open staples 1

Since there didn’t seem to be any alternative, I’ve started removing the staples from the first book, ‘Sam the Strong Man’, who, according to the book, can:

SamPage1 1

  • Lift an automobile all by himself.
  • Hold up three people with one hand.
  • Carry a piano without blinking an eye.




The mention of a blinking eye is ironic, since, in the act of removing a single staple, I almost lost one of mine!

The procedure is more or less this: insert polypropylene sheet under staple ends; work staple ends up with a micro-spatula; place left hand over staple, and snip end off with wire cutters. The hand over the staple stops it from flying across the room, and allows me to keep it safely in a nearby container. Following this I’ll be sewing the books together, sans staples.

Unfortunately, the left hand was not in place this time, and I got something of a warning shot – a staple end fired directly under the left eye. Non-fatal and it didn’t break the skin, but a good reminder:

a) of better hand placement
b) of another work hazard alongside paper-cuts
c) I need better work stories

Sam the Strong Man


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