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[BKARTS] Wheat pastes



I came accorss an interesting discussion of wheat paste, starch paste and "aged" starch paste this weekend in a book by Kojiro Ikegami entitled "Japanese Bookbinding Instructions from a Master Craftsman". On pages 22-24 he(?) discusses paste indluing giving recipes for wheat paste and how to extract wheat starch from flour. It's long involved process leaving you with a lot of very dilute starch and a mess of gluten which he then discards although he notes it is an edible product in Japan called fu.
The most interesting statement to me though was


"flour paste prepared from ordinary cooking flour and water, may be used for general binding tasks. For conservation-quality work and for most repair and restoration, paste paste made from wheat starch...is subtituted. Starch paste is BOTH WEAKER and purer than wheat past, characteristics that are considered assets in the repair of old or valuable books. Aged paste ...is a very weak paste that is particularly suited to patching torn or insect-eaten pages."

While I had always been taught that starch paste was "better" than wheat paste I had assumed that it was also stronger. Such is obviously not the case. That is why people on this list are finding Canadian wheat makes the strongest paste. Canadian wheat by the way is "Durham" or "Red Marquis" wheat, a very hard wheat also used in the best pastas. It is a continual delight to me to hear gourmets waxing poetic over italian pasta when if they only knew that most of the best italian pasta is made with wheat imported to Italy from Canada and shipped back to Canada for consumption by Canadian gourmets. The "hard" Canadian wheat by the way is the result of growing wheat in less than ideal conditions of the northern prairies. While not genetically modified as such it was certainly specially bred to grow there as any Canadian schoolboy educated in an eight-grades-in-one-room schoolhouse can tell you.

Hope this helps others who misunderstood why starch paste is "best".

Dave
--
Beddall Bookbinding Conservation & Restoration
840 Snowdrop Ave. Victoria BC V8Z 2N4
(250)888-9380    http://www.Bookbinder.ca

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