The following information was written by Jim Hosier and originally published in the Beer Coasters Monthly Newsletter by Tom Byrne Vol. 2 No 5/6 December/January 1983
Tack Holes. If a coaster has a tack
or nail hole, it can be easily plugged
by following these steps.
1. Take a common extra coaster
which matches the surface color of
the coaster to be repaired as much
as possible and soak both coasters
2. With a straight pin, scrape a small
amount of wood pulp from the extra
coaster and form a small ball with it.
3. Dab the ball with a small amount
of paper glue
4. Using the straight pin, wedge the
ball into the tack hole until the
surface on both sides of the hole
are plugged and flat.
5. Let the coaster dry and flatten
under pressure. When you are
finished, it is usually quite difficult to
notice the plugged hole. I have
plugged holes which were up to 1/2"
in diameter and have had quite good
Missing Letters or Design. If a
coaster has part of its lettering or
design missing, it is possible to
touch it up by using colored pencils,
ball point pens, or felt tip pens with
a small ruler as necessary. Some
colors are more easily matched than
others, and it's always best to
experiment on an extra to find out
which methods suit you best.
Frayed Edges. Coasters, especially
the square and odd shaped ones,
may begin to fray at the edges after
years of bouncing around, but they
are easily repaired with a touch of
paper glue. A little dab will do you,
so don't get to heavy handed.
These are a few tricks of the trade
and, of course, all should be
So, Uncle Grover had a super collection
of Horseshoe Curve coasters but he put
them on the wall with a railroad spike for
authenticity!... and you found your only
Old Bull coaster on the fifty yard line
after the Oblivion Bowl!.... and Auntie
had a fantastic Richbrau coaster under
her geranium for ten years! Relax wood
pulp lovers, COASTERMAN is here!
Coasters are amazingly durable. This
becomes readily apparent when you
realize that most of the larger U.S.
coasters kicking around your local flea
market date from the early 1930's. On
top of that, many coasters, which have
seen better days, can be cleaned up or
repaired! Warped coasters, coasters with
nail holes, or soiled coasters can all be
cleaned up or repaired with a little effort.
Of course, none of these handy dandy
little tricks are worth the effort unless
the coaster is sufficiently scarce to
justify the work, but assuming that, here
are a few good ideas.
Warped Coasters. Badly warped
coasters can be quite irritating, but they
are easily flattened if you follow these
1. Soak a common extra, which is the
same size as your warped coaster
2. Place both coasters under a heavy flat
3. After a few hours, the warped coaster
should have flattened out. The wet
coaster should then be removed and
replaced with a dry extra to prevent
mildew from forming.
4. The flattened coaster should be kept
under pressure for several days. If it is
removed to soon, it will only warp again.
Soiled Coasters. Collectors have many
favorite tricks to clean up soiled
coasters. Here are a few of them.
1. "Shake and Bake"- By placing an
abrasive such as salt or lamp shade
cleaner in a paper bag and shaking the
coaster around inside, a lot of surface
grime can be removed - along with some
of the lettering presumably if you aren't
careful. I haven't tried either one of
these methods, so I can't vouch for
them, but I have been told by several
people that they do work.
2. "Wash and Wear" - Soaking a coaster
in warm water with a mild soap will
remove a lot of accumulated dirt and all
but eliminate certain stains. A drop or
two of bleach may also be helpful if
carefully used. After soaking, just rinse in
clear water for a few minutes and then
dry. (Once nearly dry, a coaster should
be pressed flat to prevent warping.)
Some especially fastidious collectors will
repeat this process several times to bring
a coaster back to almost mint condition.
The results are really amazing (even
more amazing if you use to much bleach
or if the coaster isn't color fast, so be
careful), but the process is quite time
consuming and if you consider the
purpose for which a coaster was
originally intended, not always worth the
3. "The Watergate Method". Probably the
easiest way to eliminate surface grime os
simply to erase it. Just gently rub a
kneaded or art gum eraser over the
surface of the coaster. Some coasters
respond to the treatment better than
others, so it's better to test a small area
first. If you aren't careful, you may erase
some of the lettering in the process!.
While this method has little effect on the
stains, it is quite good on dirt and it's not
time consuming. It's the only method of
cleaning coasters that I use to any
Here's another technique used by Steen Borup-Nielsen
1. Soak the coaster for 15 mins. in a 1% solution of Hydrogenperoxid (used to bleach hair)
2. Rinse coaster in pure water - shortly
3. Put coaster between layers of kitchen tissue so that it does not take colour from a newspaper
4. Put coaster (and tissue) between a couple of newspapers and lay the stack on a floor with floor heating
5. Put a telephone directory (a heavy yellow pages) on top to keep the coaster from wrinkling. 6. Repeat ##3 - 5 until coaster is
Good luck and remember that print in gold will disappear through this treatment.