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Wheat Paste Recipes

Over the years I have been asked for (and tried) many variations of recipes for wheat paste. Here are three that have always been successful.   Thick Wheat Paste (general pasting) 6 tablespoons wheat starch 2 cups cold water Place the wheat starch in the top of a double boiler. Mix the water into the starch stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and stir constantly as the mixture simmers. Cook until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and cool.…

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Book Repair Glue

Book Repair Glue

The most commonly used glue for book repair these days is Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA). Also known as craft glue or wood glue, PVA is a good all-around adhesive. It has a low moisture content and dries quickly. It dries flexible, so it can be used to tighten hinges, repair book cover corners and reattach loose book cloth to book board. Importantly PVA is not affected by mold or fungi. However, it is damaged by freezing, so many US and European  book…

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Book Repair Glue

Book Repair – Glue or Paste?

There are two main kinds of adhesives used in book repair: paste and glue. Each has special properties and should be used in specific instances. 1. BOOK REPAIR PASTE Paste is generally a cooked mixture of water and vegetable starch, such as wheat or rice. 2. BOOK REPAIR GLUE Several types of glue have been used in bookbinding over the years, the most common being animal hide glue. In recent years, animal-based glues have been replaced with synthetic vinyl resin…

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Book Repair Glue

Book Repair Adhesives

There are two main kinds of adhesives used in book repair: paste and glue. Each has special properties and should be used in specific instances. 1. BOOK REPAIR PASTE Paste is generally a cooked mixture of water and vegetable starch, such as wheat or rice. Repairing paper with paste will give a stronger bond than repairing it with glue because the paste soaks into the paper fibers and bonds them together. Since paste contains water, it can stretch and cockle paper.…

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Clear Plastic Tape (Sticky Tape)

Many books are repaired with clear plastic tape or “sticky tape”. What appears to be a quick solution can become a long term headache. Before using plastic tape, it is important to understand how it works and how it affects books. Plastic tape is dangerous to use in books because it is unstable and causes a great deal of damage. Often two or three layers of tape will cover a single repair. The first repair did not work and additional…

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Document Repair Tape

Document Repair Tape

Document repair tapes differ from common clear plastic in several ways. The carrier (the part of the tape that holds the adhesive) is thin, acid-free paper, not plastic. It is not as stiff as plastic tape so a page can turn and bend more easily. The adhesive used is a neutral acrylic adhesive that should not dry up, yellow over time or seep out the edges of the document repair tape. Because this adhesive is neutral (neither’ acidic nor alkaline),…

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torn-book-page

Heat Set Tissue

Heat set tissue is a thin tissue that has been coated with a heat activated, acrylic adhesive. The tissue is torn or cut to fit the tear or paper loss, laid in position and covered with silicone release paper (so the tissue doesn’t stick to the hot iron). The tissue is adhered to the paper with a heated iron (approximately 100 degrees F.). A standard household iron or tacking iron from a hobby store can be used to adhere heat…

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Japanese repair tissue

Japanese Repair Tissue

Japanese repair tissue is sometimes called “rice” paper, but this thin paper is made from the fibers of the mulberry tree, not from rice as the nickname implies. The strength of Japanesere pair tissue comes from its long fibers which make the paper very strong, even though it is very thin. Handmade Japanese repair tissues are made on a mold and have mold or “chain” lines which can be seen in the paper. These lines generally run the same direction…

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torn-book-page

Repairing Paper

In general I use Japanese repair tissue, wheat paste, and heat-set tissue or repair tape to repair paper tears. Over the next few posts I’ll cover the basic information about: Japanese repair tissue heat set tissue document repair tape clear plastic tape repair adhesives  the difference between glue and paste pva glue wheat paste (including recipes) These repair methods will be applicable to any paper tear in a book whether its a paperback or hardcover.

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Finding the Grain

How to Test for Grain in Paper or Book Cloth

All paper and book cloth has a dominate grain. It’s important to know the grain direction before you start your book repair, so here are the most popular methods for determining the dominant grain in either paper or book cloth. Paper can be tested for grain using the bend test, the tear test or the water test. The grain of book cloth usually runs parallel to the selvage or bound edge of the fabric. If the selvage of the book cloth…

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