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Re: [BKARTS] Cialux & Iris (rayon paper backed) bookcloth

Hello list:

I couldn't resist contributing to this discussion after I reading
Bill Minter's "two cents worth" regarding the durability of uncoated
rayon fabrics that are used for bookbinding.

Right off, I wish to tell you all that we are direct importers and
suppliers of some of these fabrics. Specifically those imported from
Japan. So yes - I have a vested interest in the discussion's eventual

I am also in the commercial bookbinding business. We have been using
paper backed rayon fabrics for making book covers since about the mid

Initially we began using Brillianta and a few of the other Scholco
fabrics imported from thew Netherlands. Shortly after, we became
aware of a similar pallet of colors made by the German company,
Bamberger Kaliko. This line of fabric (Iris) ignited our current
discussion. There is a similar line of paper backed, rayon fabric
imported from Italy as well as the line of fabrics we now represent
coming from Japan. We use them all.

Over the last, 20 or so years, we have never experienced any rayon
"decay"  problem which I believe this is Bill Minter's major concern
(the longevity of paper backed rayon book cover material). We also
know that European binders have been using rayon fabrics since at
least the mid 1970's without "decay" or longevity problems. So, we
know for fact, that rayon fabrics last at least 30 +/- years.

Some of us may not know just what "rayon" actually is. Rayon is
manufactured from cellulose. Actually, it is reprocessed cotton which
has been dissolved and re spun. There for, one would assume that
rayon would last at least as long as cotton ... A very long time -
and it can absorb a good deal of use or abuse. Paper backed rayon is
quite strong (difficult to tear).

In comparing the variety of paper backed rayon book cover fabrics, I
would have to bet that the tightness of the weave as well as the
color (die) may influence its longevity almost as much as use and
storage conditions.

Acids, ultraviolet light, temperature, humidity and dirt will all
degrade cotton as they will with nearly anything. The tighter the
weave the more resistant (impervious) a fabric would be to those
abuses. Some colors (fabric die) may absorb more harmful ultraviolet
light than others, etc.

As to the water spotting and scratching problems that are of concern,
we have not found a suitable solution. Yes, we have experimented with
Scotchgard and Krylon, applied "in the field" so to speak. They have
both been completely unsatisfactory from our perspective. Even
polyester book jackets get scratched and stained - but so does
library buckram.

I believe the questions or problems connected to the use of uncoated
fabrics should be determined by the expected use of the bound book.
If you want your books to look beautiful and be read because they are
so pleasing to look at and to hold, use an uncoated fabric. If the
book is being bound for a circulating or research library - or if it
is to be used as a field manual by a surveyor in a swamp, there are
more sensible and practical cover materials available.

Worry more about the paper and the ink or the longevity of the
printing process. A book can always be rebound. That's why we are in

Gregor Campbell
Campbell-Logan Bindery, Inc.



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