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stinky stuff

I replied to the original query with this comment:
                I've used PVA for over five years and never had it sour on me.  While
working at the library I was using the stuff sold by either Demco or
Gaylord, and kept it in a covered "tupperware" type container between days.
 Never had a problem in four years.
        Now, in my own studio, I pretty much stick to the Jade PVA sold by Talas.
Same thing.  Unless I stick my nose clear down into the container, I have
never smelled anything strong or objectionable from it, and I use it freely
every day.
        Some say that PVA contains formaldehyde, but I've worked around that
chemical and know its smell.  Never found it in either of these versions of
the glue.
        A thought worthy of feedback from anyone:  In my visits to various
binders/binderies I've seen brushes left in the pots and the pots left open
or with minimal covering.  Don't know where I began the habit, but I do not
leave any brush in the glue - period!  Between use it goes into water, and
at the end is thoroughly washed off/out and allowed to air dry, bristles
        Also, between use, I cover the PVA container (a tupperware-type bowl)
tight, and every month or so, when the glue begins to get low, pour the
glue into another container and completely clean the primary one of all
dried and caked PVA, then re-fill it with what I poured out and new glue to
        I would not be surprised if the spoilage came from outside the glue by
virtue of the variety of surfaces affected on the brush.  I make my own
yogurt, and note that if I use a spoon which has been in something else
(like dry bran or cereal) without washing clean first, the yogurt develops
a mildew type stain on the top.  Could be the same type phenomenon with the
PVA problems.
        Suggest 1 - keep the brushes clean and dry, 2 - keep the PVA tightly
covered between uses, and 3 - clean out the pot once in a while.
Charles Schermerhorn
Lompoc, Calif.

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