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[BKARTS] Coatings and paints for covering materials other than leather

Dear Group,

I am pondering the question of coverings for my modest little books.  I
tend not to use leather, not for any good reason I suppose, but out of
preference for other textures and possibilities.  However, I do have
concerns for the durability and other qualities of some materials.

Specifically, water soluble latex based paints and varnishes, like acrylic
medium and acrylic paints.  The question in my mind is mostly with respect
to transfer on contact, as books tend to live their lives in close contact
with their fellows, under slight pressure.  I wonder if any of the group
have experience with this, or know of any research?

For my part, I know that contact of any kind with vinyl is dangerous.  I
have seem many cases of transfer to and from vinyl coverings, usually in
contact with paints or inks of the sort used on the covers of trade books,
or with dry-ink from laser or xerographic print.

I have also seen trade covers with varnished paper or composition material
which have stuck to various surfaces, having developed or failed to lose a
certain tackiness.  In some cases these adhesions have become
permanent.  The cause may have been dampness from rain or condensation
which was not removed and dried, or from an initial tackiness that
persisted: I do not know.  Nor do I know the nature of the varnish.  It may
have been that these books were of the initial phase of solvent-free
coating innovation, and were simply poor quality coating jobs that escaped
to market.

My concern is with artists' quality acrylics and alkyds that I would like
to use to decorate covers in the manner of a painting, over paper and
fabric.  I know that these media, properly used, develop a very tough paint
film that is up to the sort of mechanical abuse expected.  I presume that
their simple aging qualities are also sufficient, as they are accepted for
use in paintings for wall hanging, etc.  The case for book covers is
somewhat different in the matter of being in contact with an adjacent
surface, either of a box or another book, and also in the matter of the
flexure of the hinge and spine.

I would be interested to hear the experience of others in these matters,
what in their opinions are suitable paints and varnishes, and why.  Also
whether the use of a gesso base either improves or degrades the quality of
the coating, especially in the hinge and margins, where flexure is greatest.

Gavin Stairs
Gavin Stairs Fine Editions
525 Canterbury Road
London, Ontario
Canada   N6G 2N5

telephone: (519) 434-8555.
email: stairs@xxxxxxxxxxxx

Gavin Stairs Fine Editions is a small, computer press specializing in book
design and fine, hand-made books.


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