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Glue for Mongolia


I'm reposting this from the Conservation DistList without the knowledge or
permission of the orginal poster.  It's not directly book related, but
imagine there were only 6 book artists left in the world, and they couldn't
get their glue.  I think you'd feel that we're all in this together.

Please respond directly to the orginal poster.

Alan Van Dyke
Date: 15 May 98
From: Stephen Selby <srselby@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Glue

I have just returned from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where I have been
interviewing a traditional Mongolian bowyer about his craft, handed
down over more than 2,000 years. There are six such craftsmen left
in Mongolia. Mongolian bows are made from bamboo, wild sheep's horn
and dried sinew. The whole has to be bound together with an
extremely powerful glue which is water soluble and applied hot. The
sinew is also soaked in the hot glue solution before it is applied.

The process is carried out in winter indoors (outside temperature
can be  minus 30 degrees Celcius), with little ventilation, and in
extremely inflammable surroundings (a felt tent). Spirit based glue
is not an option.

The bowyer's supply of the traditional glue, made from the air
bladders of fish from China, has dried up. Unable to obtain the
correct glue, he has tried using a Russian chemical product, but it
is inadequate. Structural failure of a 50-pound traditional bow at
full draw is painful and dangerous. Please could correspondents tell
me of any suppliers of dried fish air bladder for the purpose of
boiling to make glue?

Stephen Selby. (srselby@xxxxxxxxxxxx)
Intellectual Property Department,
Hong Kong, China

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