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Re: [BKARTS] Paste experts reveal...

Betty, and all the rest who have contributed to this thread,

Alum has many useful properties.  In the papermill it helps to clarify
the water bacause it causes dissolved earth to drop out, and it hardens
paste, making it less soluble.  It will also give you a couple of days
extra before mold begins to develop.

Not a good enough reason to use it, since it also lowers the pH of the

That leather is naturally slightly acidic is not sufficient reason to
add alum to paste.

>Wheat paste is slightly acidic. Calcium carbonate added raises the PH.
>Should it be added to as a matter of course to wheat paste to be used when
>pasting paper?

No, it is not necessary.  Doesn't hurt, but it ain't necessary.

Flour pastes are attractive to bugs because their paste contains gluten,
which provides a good meal for them.  Starch is flour without the gluten,
so there is no food for the bugs.

To make $12.00/lb starch just put some wet flour in a muslin bag and every
time the water turns sour pour it off and add some more water.  When the
water stops going off, what you have left is precipitated starch (that is
what the expensive Japanese starch is), or you can purchase the Chinese
starch for $1-2.00/lb and use that.  It is also precipitated starch.

Wheat starch is a stronger adhesive than rice starch paste, but rice starch
adhesive is a 'whiter' adhesive, and sometimes that is important.

The other starches available will work as adhesives, but they are not as
strong, and tend to be brittle.

That is the long and short of it.  There are odds and ends of details
contained in a dozen books behind me on the shelf as I write this, but
you have the gist of it above.

Last weekend I spent 4.5 hrs. teaching a fellow who makes Japanese doors
(fusuma) for tea houses how to make and use wheat starch paste, and we
just covered the basics.

Way too much stuff to cover in detail in a posting to a listserv, but the
basic stuff is contained in what you've just read.  The rest is experience
and observation. And thinking about what you've observed.


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