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[BKARTS] alum and paste



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                          MDE - Innovation 2004
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Hi Richard... I understand your frustration with paste going off so quickly.
However, it is not a good idea to add a preservative to your paste; all have
real or potentially deleterious effects on the work. Alum will not only lower
the pH of your paste but also produce a more brittle film even with buffering.
Thymol has been shown to alter the color of some papers and pigments as it off
gasses.
I am assuming that you are working with cooked starch paste and so I'd like
to suggest a few alternatives to a preservative. First of course is to make
smaller batches more often; I realize that this may not be a useful solution for
those of us who work an irregular schedule in our shops. Have you ever made
your paste in a microwave? It is very fast and difficult to get wrong. I make
mine on a laboratory stirrer hotplate, you can pick them up cheap on eBay. And
then there is the rice cooker; it will make your paste while you sleep. There
is the precooked instant paste; very expensive for large batches made often but
quite reasonable for shorter work periods and small batches.
It is so difficult trying to insure that we use the best materials and
methods in our work that it strikes me as a false economy to scrimp on something so
important and basic as a good fresh paste. After all, the best is barely good
enough.
James

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