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Re: acid free?

 Acid-free and archival are very much the same sort of buzz words that
natural and organic are for the same reason, it makes stuff sell.  In
the library world the acid free label provides a sort of fig leaf to
make it look like reasonable care is being provided for materials while
the big money goes to the newest digital scanning project (me, bitter?,
oh no).   As someone else mentioned, the only real way to protect your
valuable materials is to be very careful in the selection of your
suppliers and go for top quality.  It is also necessary to be realistic
about the problem.  The deterioration of materials over time is a
complex issue, and no magic pill offers a sure cure for all its
manifestations.  Surface testing is only a ball park indicator since it
will not tell you about the interior material.  Dirt, coatings,
environmental contamination all affect that surface.
   As to Japanese tissue, yes, some of it does register a lower pH than
a straight 6, but remember that you are not dealing with western wood
pulp fiber.  If you are worried, buffer your paste with a pinch of
calcium hydroxide. It is easily done and gives you a little extra help.
Just remember to dissolve it in the water BEFORE you add your wheat
starch, or dissolve it in the water you use to thin your paste.  And,
when all else fails, there is always dial a prayer.......
 Dorothy A.

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