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Cooking the books

(3 posts)
  1. markofthebb

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    Joined: Jul '12
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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Jul 25 2012 8:25:56
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    Well it's day eleven. The house is looking nicer and I have one bookshelf in order. I have alot of books in my home. I did the children's books in the microwave and oven and have killed a few nasties. I did a test on a cheap paperback in the microwave and it caught on fire. It had the gold lettering so lesson learned there. No metal of any kind in the microwave.

    As I said we have alot of books, alot of hardcover books to be exact. The baby loves her board books and many of them had gilded letters too. So I thought why not throw them in the oven. I put it on convection at 215*degrees, laid down some baking sheets and slowly cooked the books until they were too hot inside to touch. Then using oven mitts i took them out and put them in the done box the cool. They retain their heat for a long time.

    I did all my cookbooks and the baby's books first as these are high use. They didn't turn out too bad. Some books are plastic coated and it kind of warped the thin plastic layer. The glossy paper got really hot more quickly and books like the hardcover dictionary and thesaurus took over an hour to get really hot inside. I found you could stack books to make all the books in the oven the "same" thickness, just some of them sweat in between. They came out in pretty good shape, and only a few covers were slightly warped. I just stacked the less warped books on top while they cooled.

    At the end of it I did find a few carcasses of those bugs trying to escape in the oven trays or in my isolation box. The books in my bedroom that I want to keep because they are expensive and make me look well read are getting wrapped up tight. Do not open until Jan 2014. It'll be like a second Christmas present.

  2. DougSummersMS

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    Joined: May '07
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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Jul 25 2012 9:43:13
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    You can treat your books in a PackTite safely without the damage that you are observing using the oven... No need to store your books in isolation for months

    A PackTite can gently heat several books at a time... you can use the included temperature probe and Thermaspot temp sensors to ensure that the proper temps are achieved during the process.

    Paper works as insulation... really doesn't conduct heat well at all.

    Books are thermal bricks...The surface temperature will change quickly, but the core temp is often still in a sub lethal range.

    It is difficult to control low temps in an oven... 215 F will produce damage, but you do not know the actual temperature unless you monitor it in an accurate fashion.

    Melting the plastic on the pages of your children's books is a good sign that the temps are way too high.

    Paper has an ignition temperature of 451... plastic coated paper has a lower ignition temperature.... Use of a household oven to cook books is a recipe for a fire.

    Some plastic materials will give off toxic VOCs when heated too high.

    (Disclosure: I am affiliated with a company that sells PackTite products and K9 services)

  3. markofthebb

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Jul 25 2012 22:23:56
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    I would love a packtite, especially since I work for an airline. One paycheck at a time though. Lol. My $1000 steamer arrived five days after I found the first bug and that was late because I needed at least a day to really think about what I needed in a steamer. I ordered it on my first day off and it came two days later.

    In retrospect I could have gone with a lower temp in the oven, especially on the glossy looking books and because of the convection heating. Once it felt hot in the center I just turned off the oven and let it all heat/cool inside anyway. The idea I had was to get it hot to the centre rather quickly so there would be no escape. I checked some with the left over fever dots I had for the kids.

    Guess I chose the oven because before the baby came I baked wedding cakes. I feel very comfortable with an oven and it is the second kitchen upstairs, with skylights that open for ventilation. It is also my frying kitchen as I prefer to have as much ventilation as possible even for things like oil vaporization.

    This was an experiment that turned out reasonably well for me. Some very minor cover damage, book bindings intact so far, and only a few pages stuck together until I flipped them, no browning of the pages.

    And coincidentally, or should i say accidentally, I have had an oven on fire before. The oxygen burned out rather quickly and the fire was over. Not much fun as I had to get a new oven. Luckily I had kitchen number two and I did have a funny dinner story about my flambéed filet mignon.


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