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Re: [BKARTS] a thing on paste and board -- another thing about boards

I too remember being told about trapped moisture causing mold that
destroyed pasteboard from the inside. My memory is just slightly
different from Bill's: I remember the pasteboards as having been made
with real paste for use in top-quality springback ledgers, having
been made all in one day and put aside to season, and developing a
hollow center and signs of mold over a period of some months. I would
point out the greater dampness of paste than hot glue, and also the
greater dampness of the British Isles. The lesson is clear: don't
rush the making of pasteboard, add a layer inside and a layer outside
and then put them aside to dry before adding more layers. Mold
can develop inside the board, but give no signs on the board's
surface until after the book is completed.

I was probably told this by Bill Anthony at Paper and Book Intensive
in 1988, but it may have been by another Irish binder, Patrick
Mulcahy, who earned his living in my town making blank journals. I
listened to Patrick talk about making springback ledgers, and
laminating boards for them, sometime in the early 1980s, though my
memory is less fresh than I would like. I could have heard of the
dangers of rushing pasteboard from both Bill and Patrick: this is
clearly the kind of lesson that many binders would learn the hard
way. In the great Thomas Harrison's "Fragments of Bookbinding
Technique," if my memory serves, Harrison talks about laminating
boards for the finest work from paste and handmade paper, about using
hot glue for slightly lower-quality work, and about the need for
patience and long seasoning when making pasteboard.

I would like to back Bill Minter up in his general comments. We learn
from each others' mistakes, if we talk about mistakes and if we
listen to each other. We know that clorox is bad for paper, not
because conservators are tight-assed but because conservators have
seen the damage done by miniscule traces of sodium hypochlorite
despite all attempts to wash it away; and they know what did the
damage because the conservators kept meticulous records of what was
used to treat the paper and how much and when. We know that mold can
develop inside pasteboard because binders who used patiently seasoned
pasteboard for their best work cut into the board after months of
waiting and found big hollow centers full of spores, and because they
knew how and where the board was made and stored, and because they
warned their apprentices and their students and their friends. These
problems are not fast-developing problems that can be seen before a
book goes out the door of the bindery; they may take months or years
to develop. The point at issue is not getting a completed book to a
custormer but the ultimate long-term survival of the book. It is a
matter of respect for one's work and oneself.

I knew Bill Anthony only a very little, but I learned a great deal
from him because he was a wise and generous teacher and talked freely
about things that went wrong as well as things that went right. And
one aspect of his generosity might be emulated by anyone teaching or
giving advice: he told about his disasters as well as his successes.
If we listen, even at second-hand, we may avoid disasters of our own.

Tom Conroy

Bill Minter wrote:

>We all learn can learn from the misfortunes of others. Bill Anthony
>experienced the problem of rotted boards in the 1950's-60's when
>he was a journeyman in England.  I heard the story in the 1970's.
>Sadly, Bill died in 1989. At that time, he was at the University
>of Iowa where he was continuing to share his life's experiences,
>binding and otherwise, with his apprentices and students.<

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