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[BKARTS] Creating an archival adhesive

Greetings to all.

Now that the heat concerning the leather treatment thread has died down, we
should like to relate the story of how we created a product and put it to

In the last five to seven years, an increasing number of our customers had
been asking us to confirm that the materials we were using in their
commissions, were of archival standard.  As a result, we began to look more
closely at the materials we were using.

The white glues were concerning us.  PVA has been the current glue for
decades.  However, it contains unstable plasticizers, which migrate to
surrounding materials, and cause problems down the track.  The fact that one
can buy PVA which has been made neutral, or even slightly alkaline, and
given a further alkali reserve (buffering), and moreover made "reversible"
makes PVAs still unacceptable, as the plasticizers are still present.

Knowing this, we approached the major global adhesive companies here in
Australia, and asked them to assist us with an archival formula, to our
specifications.  The long and short of it was that they were only interested
in sales of thousands of litres per month, otherwise, it was not
economically worth it for them.  Fair enough.

So, we sought out, and found, the services of a very capable adhesive
chemist here.  As a consequence, and after two or three years
of sampling, we came up with a formula which appeared to be sound, and meet
all the conservation standard criteria.  Its base is EVA, ethylene vinyl
acetate, which, according to our adhesive chemist, is superior in every way
to PVA.  But it has to be modified to be of use in archival circles, and to

At this stage, we had been discussing it with colleagues, and the word got
around that this research was going on.  Institutions started asking for it,
and a conservation suppliers offered to distribute it.  But they then gave
us even more stringent requirements before museums, etc. would even look at
it.  This included the use of the adhesive for making archival boxes which
would house antique photographs.  Such a formula requires a rather narrow pH
range.  So after more modifications, and tweaking, we had it tested by a
world-standard test (PAT), and furthermore gave it to a major scientific
company to undertake a 500 hour accelerated aging test.

Once these tested were performed, only then could it be placed on the market
with some degree of surety, and have it ordered by professionals knowing the
tests it had undergone.

We openly reveal 97% of the formula.  The remaining three percent are the
finer points, giving it its true qualities as an archival adhesive.  We also
do not reveal the percentages of the ingredients used.

The formula is relatively simple.  However, the trouble and effort to reach
this finely-modified formula are unlikely to be undertaken by others, as
well as the very expensive scientific testing.  But, the tests were
absolutely necessary in order to give confidence to others.  Our own
confidence was not enough.  It had to be given proper, objective
credibility.   And in the course of having the various stages of the formula
tested, we came to see that some of the ingredients we had first used, and
had thought were suitable, were not in fact sufficiently archivally sound,
leading us to look for more acceptable alternatives.

All in all, it was somewhat a labour of love, but we created an archival
adhesive which we could confidently use in our own workshop, and give some
joy to others as well.

We trust that this description may be helpful.

Peter Krantz.

Book Restorations.
34 Clanville Road,
Roseville, Sydney,
N.S.W.        2069,

(P.O. Box 500, North Sydney, N.S.W. 2059.)

Telephone:  +61 2 9416.9900
Fax:  +61 2 9416.6800
Email:  restore@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Established: 1976


Edelpappband / ?Millimeter? Binding Bind-O-Rama, Entry Deadline - October 1, 2005

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