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Pots, paste, and PVA

If you can find 'em, stainless steel pots are best.  I've picked up very
good stainless steel pots and double boilers from hospitals and used
restaurant supply stores.

Enamel pots are a good runner-up, so long as you are careful to check for
chipped enamel now and again.  Chips allow the inside steel to rust and the
rust can lead to foxing problems in paper and make bright dyes dull.

Paste made from wheat or rice starch can be used from a state so dry as to
almost crumble to something so thin it looks like grey dishwater, depending
on the application.

PVA's have their place, but it's not a good idea to assume that the
adhesive will always be as flexible as it is when you try to rub or peel it
off your fingers.

If you show an old, dark and brittle PVA sample to an adhesive salesman you
may be certain that you will be told that "things are different now".  They
don't use the same formulae in compounding new PVA's.  That is part of the
problem.  Every time we think we have a dependable adhesive someone changes
a formula without changing the label.

If you have an adhesive system which works for you, enjoy!  If you are just
starting out, do yourself a favor and learn how to work with cooked wheat
or rice starch paste and animal hide glue.  Then expand to PVA's.  One
advantage to this is that you will learn with a slower drying adhesive
while you are trying to remember how many things have to come together for
a project to come out right.


Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Lab.
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, OR  97217


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