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Re: [BKARTS] Questions about methyl cellulose

This reply is forwarded from Frank Mowery:

On Jan 3, 2009, at 3:57 PM, J. Franklin Mowery wrote:

Methylcellulose is by nature not acidic, Robert Feller in his study of cellulose ethers rated it as a superb conservation adhesive. But how one makes the adhesive could result in it being acidic. if the water used (straight deionized water) the resultant adhesive could be acidic.

the original problem could easily be that methylcellulose, being very water soluble would not be water resistant when mixed with acrylic paints that when dry are not resoulble in water. but mixed with methylcellulose the cellulose could be resolubized.


J. Franklin Mowery
Paper Conservator
500 Westminster Rd.
Reisterstown, Maryland 21136

From: William Minter <wminter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: Book_Arts-L <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, January 2, 2009 5:48:27 PM
Subject: Re: [BKARTS] Questions about methyl cellulose

I do not have an answer, but I have wondered if there could be any difficulty with mixing methyl cellulose with acrylics. In fact, I asked this very question at the recent GBW Standards conference.
The people at Golden certainly should have some comment or suggestion on this topic, as you have suggested. However, I am surprised to hear them say that methyl cellulose is acidic. I do not think that that is true.
On the other hand, there are many of us who are mixing these two materials/compounds for a variety of end uses. Obviously, there is a need to determine if there could be a problem. If the manufacturers of the acrylics do not have an answer, they are probably not going to do the research unless it becomes a financial problem for them. Therefore, the concern falls into our lap as the end-user. Since it is common for book arts people to mix these compounds, someone, at some level in the book arts community, needs to provide the research to answer such a question.
Bill Minter

On Dec 30, 2008, at 11:13 AM, Laurie Doctor wrote:

I have worked with methyl cellulose in bookmaking and in acrylic painting (using it as an additive to the paint) and haven't had any problems. Recently a student had a problem with an acrylic varnish taking up some of the acrylic paint on the surface of her piece and said the folks at Golden thought it could be the methyl cellulose, and also claimed that methyl cellulose could cause yellowing over time -- that it is acidic.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this?


William Minter Bookbinding & Conservation, Inc.
4364 Woodbury Pike
Woodbury, PA  16695
Fax:   814-793-4045
Email:    wminter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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