Penetration Depth of Borates in Historic Wooden Structures in Virginia City, Montana
Borates have been in use in the timber industry since the 1950s and have proven their worth in fight against fungal decay and wood-destroying insects. In recent years, borates have become frequently employed by the conservation world, not only because the chemicals are effective in preventing wood decay, but because borates have a low mammalian toxicity, are odorless and colorless, and do not interfere with finishes or fasteners. From Viking warships to historic pianos, borates have been widely used for the preservation of wooden cultural heritage resources. Virginia City, Montana offers a prime test case to assess the performance of borates in historic wooden buildings. Located in the southwest corner of Montana, Virginia City was the site of first gold discovery in the area. The town and its environs are a unique time capsule, with original fabric from 1863 mixed with mid-twentieth century preservation efforts and the nearly archaeological remains of every day citizens - a multi-layered cornucopia of history preserved in the high mountain air.