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On Wed, 1 Nov 1995, Calvin A. Burris wrote:

> I am looking for advise on the following questions:
> *  In my reading, I have been unable to find a formula for flexible hide
> glue.  Experimentation has led me to a mixture made up of:
>         1 tbs of hide glue (flakes)
>         1 tbs of water
>         1 to 2 tsp of glycerin
> Does anyone have a better formula they would recommend?

  Flexible hide glue will not maintain its flexiblity over time--simply
look at older bindings which have had animal glue on the spine (the
easiest place to see the glue).  It has usually become rather brittle.
Where or how are you planning on using the hide glue.  Most binders
today, including conservators are using PVA or starch pastes.

> *  Is "water reversible" PVA as good as flexible hide glue, and is it truly
> water reversible?

  On the whole there really is no such thing as water reversible PVA. All
polyvinyl acetates are emulsions in a solvent and for most of the pva's
we are using that solvent is water.  If your pva has not completely
dried; i.e. there is still water locked into the film on the paper or
board, then by wetting out the board or paper you can usually "reverse"
the adhesion.  Complete drying of pva's can take days or weeks depending
on the environment.

> *  What is the difference between wheat starch and flour, and rice starch>
and rice flour?  Wheat and rice starch paste are very expensive.  Do they
> produce a comparable increase in quality over plain flour paste?
  Wheat and rice flours contain glutens, waxes and pectins.  These
components can be less stable than the starch which is specific chemical
compound.  These other components can cause cross-linking and thereby
making it much more difficult to reverse.  One should only use pure
starch pastes for conservation because of this.

> *  The most comprehensive and descriptive book on bookbinding in my library
> is "The Thames and Hudson Manual of Bookbinding."  Are there better ones?

Eric Burdett's The Craft of Bookbinding is excellent.  Unfortunately it
is out of print and copies are harder and harder to locate.

> Thank you for your time.
> Calvin A. Burris
> Calvin A. Burris

Bobbie Pilette
Conservation Lab Instructor
Preservation and Conservation Studies
Grad School of Library and Information Science
University of Texas-Austin


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