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Re: [BKARTS] Paste Debate!

Hi Everyone,

I've been using pva for binding my books, but in light of the discussion
about the less savory aspects of pva over the last few days (mold, nasty
preservatives, general toxicity), I've been thinking about whether to switch
over to wheat starch for at least part of my binding process.  I read stuff
in the archives about the pluses and minuses of pva versus wheat starch, and
it seems that most people recommend using pva for adhering book cloth
and casing in books, as it is stronger than wheat or rice paste.

I use layers of handmade papers for my covers, and am thinking about using
wheat starch paste to glue the paper layers together, and then use pva for
the rest of the binding process. I tried cooking up some wheat starch in my
microwave, and after a Frankensteinian few minutes of watching the stuff
bubble ominously, somehow came away with only about a teaspoon of actual
paste. I'm now thinking about trying out pre-cooked wheat starch, because it
sounds easier than trying to figure out how to reduce the power setting on
my microwave (I know, it's pathetic, but hey). Have any of you used
pre-cooked wheat starch on handmade paper, and if so, did it bond well?


On 10/12/07, Jake Benson <boundbyhand@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Greeting Everyone,
> I would like to re-open what may seem to be an old topic for
> everyone; the particular qualities of starch paste adhesives.
> Over the years, I have heard a great deal about wheat starch versus
> rice starch.  Searching the list archives, I found information on
> what constitutes starch, how it differs from flour, how starch is
> separated from gluten, and various preferred methods of preparation.
> For now, I would like to reconsider rice vs wheat, and then perhaps
> as a subtopic, the various qualities of Aytex P,  zen Shofu, "pre-
> coooked" wheat, the cheap starches obtained from Asian grocers, and
> why not Softasilk cake flour while we're at it.  Oh, and let's not
> forget precipitating your own starch from flour.
> For some time I have been told that rice starch molecules are much
> larger than wheat, engendering greater tack and rigidity in dried
> rice paste films.
> The smaller molecular size of wheat supposedly engenders greater
> flexibility.  Just now, I read that wheat is actually "polymodal",
> meaning that the molecules can vary in size.  Perhaps this has
> something to do with the molecular size of these molecules, but I
> also wonder if the source of the starch (specific species of wheat or
> rice) may influence these factors, as well as the ratio of amylose
> and amylopectin.
> In addition, I have been told that an artificial aging test showed
> that rice can become yellow and brittle over time.  On the other
> hand, I am also told it maintains a higher Ph than wheat starch
> paste.  What about combinations of starch pastes, or the addition of
> methyl cellulose (HPMC, such as Dow E4M) Maybe we should be exploring
> kudzu (kuzu) starch for our purposes?
> Rather than invite a plethora of comments about what one personally
> prefers to use or believes to be "superior", I would love to see
> published sources that can be cited, as very few sources are
> mentioned in the list archives.  In addition, to promote a  civil
> tone in the discussion, I would just like to mention that I
> personally believe that each adhesive has their place; there is no
> "bad" adhesive; only poor choices of application.  The place for some
> adhesives may not be in conservation or book art, but it may very
> well be good for something else (such as in the kitchen).  Similarly,
> I also do not subscribe to the idea that "one size fits all".  An
> adhesive used for the most delicate paper conservation may not be the
> most suitable for leather binding and vice-versa.
> Thanks!
> Jake Benson
>             ***********************************************
>     Visit "The Book of Origins: A survey of American Fine Binding"
>                Online exhibit and catalog order form at
>       <http://library.syr.edu/digital/exhibits/b/bookoforigins/>
>             For all your subscription questions, go to the
>                      Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
>          See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information
>             ***********************************************

Barbara Simler
Moon Bindery
Kamloops, BC

     Visit "The Book of Origins: A survey of American Fine Binding"
                Online exhibit and catalog order form at
             For all your subscription questions, go to the
                      Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
          See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information

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