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The PVA collection

Good Evening List.

Apparently Peter is taking some heat about what gets to the list and what=20
doesn't.   Some of that is happening because I posted a question a while ago=
about thinning PVA glue and no responses were posted to the list. As it=20
happens, I got scads of responses (Thanks everyone) but they all came=20
directly to me. One member wrote me and asked what kind of answers I got and=
I responded with CLiff notes, but maybe List protocol is to share the wealth=
via a condensed report to the List and I just didn't think about it.

What follows is a "collage" of the answers I got (and could find) to share=20
with everyone.
By the way, I absorbed all the info and tried just dampening my brush a=20
little before I spread the glue. That did the trick for me. Once I was=20
assured that the adhesive quality was just fine with a thicker glue, all I=20
wanted was to have the material move a little smoother for me. A damp brush=20
(barely damp) did the trick.

The answers:

G'Morning Pat,
You can thin this with water. And other things, but let's keep this simple.
The gallon you purchased was probably formulated for high speed machines.
Handbookbinders work at the speed of arm, so yes we can control how the
adhesive goes down.
If it is now like soft butter, thin it down to glazing chocolate and/or the
thinness of the stuff you used to use. Test on a sample first. The addition
of liquid will effect the drying time and how the adhesive will soak in and
(unfortunately) soak through.
Good luck.
Cynthia H. Fields-Belanger
Gold Leaf Bindery
Somerville, MA

P.S. Don't let the stuff freeze.
I have always used the thicker glue and love it.
Yes, you can thin it to any consistency you like with
warm water.  It is best to thin small quantities at a
time with a whisk to assure that it is not lumpy.

I've never had any concerns about adhesive quality.

The time I got the thinner kind in a squeeze bottle I
thought I had been cheated because they had watered it
down so much!  To each his own!  It all seems to be a
matter of what you are used to and what you prefer.
Good Luck,=20
Jane Brown
Pat,I've worked with both the squeeze bottle PVA and the thicker stuff you=20
refer to here.  My
preference is the latter; it's more permanent and water proof that the=20
squeeze bottle kind, I think.
And, I almost always thin it with paste, mostly from wheat starch and usuall=
close to 50/50.  PVA is
more of a surface adhesive, while wheat starch paste will soak into paper=20
products more.  Also, adding
the paste lengthens the drying time of the glue, so you can work with it mor=
readily.  The paste I
make is 5:1, water:starch.  Let me know if you need more info on that.
=83Pat...I'm sure you'll get lots of responses on this one!  I thin my PVA w=
water all the time.  I usually pour from the gallon into a clean yogurt or=20
cottage cheese container with plastic top and keep that as my working glue=20
jar. So I don't have to open my gallon too often, only to refill my yogurt=20
container.   Sometime, when I'm working all day with heat on in the studio,=20
it thickens up during the day. A little hot water seems to dissolve better=20
than cold.  Also I keep on hawnd a container of half PVA and half methyl=20
cellulose.  The m.c. gives you a little more time to position things than PV=
by itself, which  makes paper adhere immediately. (Be sure and mark all your=
containers as to contents.)
It is easier to work with and is just as strong fpr paper-to-paper or=20
paper-to-board or to cloth applications.  Methyl cel can also be thinned wit=
Good luck.  nancy
Hi Pat --

Would you mind sharing where you got that particular PVA? I usually=20
get mine through Colophon and it's a pourable consistency, but I'm=20
always interested in alternatives (using this stuff, as opposed to allowing=20
some of the Colophon PVA to air-thicken). As for the thinning it out=20
question, you could also go the direct route and use a few drops of=20
distilled  water. Cooked wheat paste would work, too, and give you a=20
somewhat longer "open" time (a thinner paste would give the=20
consistency you're looking for). If you do use the wheat paste, though,=20
only mix up what you'll use right then - paste is notorious for turning into=
a ~science project~ complete with green fur really quickly!

Good luck!

Chris - THGA

Hi -- Mix it with Methyl Cellulose to thin it out.

Note: I responded to Chris that I got the glue at Knight Industrial Supply i=
Buffalo. It was $20 for a gallon. They supply the glue to our librararies.
You can thin the PVA paste with water, no problem.


Depending on the company the PVA can be thin to marshmallow cream.  It=20
tends to be thinner when new and gets progressively thicker as it gets=20
older.  That is not a problem.  All should be able to be thinned with=20
water.  We use ordinary tap water and I don't believe you would need=20
distilled, etc.

We use all kinds of thicknesses depending upon the job we are doing.  I=20
keep the PVA as it comes from the bottle in small amounts in a glue=20
pot.  When it needs to be thinned, I just dip the tips of the brush=20
bristles into then lightly into the water and then slightly into the PVA=20
then tap the brush on the side of the glue pot to slightly mix it.  More=20
water for thinner PVA.  I have never used methyl cellulose in book=20
repair.  Probably because the range we need can be accomplished with the=20
simple method above.

A hint:  Use less PVA than you think you will need.  It is very powerful=20
and with pressing under weights and allowing it to dry well, you will very=20
seldom need more.  Overusing adhesive is wasteful and really=20
unnecessary.  It contributes to stiffness and gooshing out!  (Messy!)

Hope this helps,

Thanks again. This newbie really appreciates you guys.


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