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Alum in paste

Some binders, among them Banister, A.W. Lewis, and Laurence Town, add alum
to wheat paste as a preservative.  Pauline Johnson recommends a pinch of
alum if the paste is used with leather.

Because alum makes the paste acidic, most binders no longer use it, at
least for not pasting paper.  Is it necessary for paste used on leather?
If so, why?

Some writers recommend adding oil of cloves (to discourage mice and
mildew)and/or thymol as preservatives. I have used both.  Which is the
least objectionable?

If paste is mixed in a quantity sufficient for a few days only, no
preservative is necessary. The instant pastes are certainly easy enough to
mix and use, but many binders feel that there is no substitute for "real"
wheat paste and wish they didn't have to make a fresh batch every few days.

I'm aware that some are experimenting with freezing paste in small
containers to have it available as needed, but I haven't heard how
successful they have been in their efforts.

Can anyone shed some light on the use of alum in paste for leather, or on
oil of cloves and thymol as preservatives?

Betty Storz

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