Coaster of the Month
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 in water.
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 results.

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 approached cautiously

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 steps:
1. Soak a common extra, which is the same size as your warped coaster
2. Place both coasters under a heavy flat object
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.

"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.

"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 effort.

"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 extent. cautiously
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 dry

Good luck and remember that print in gold will disappear through this treatment.
Coaster of the Month!
Repairing Coasters