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. It dries slowly and can usually be reversed with water.
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 glues, the most common of which is polyvinyl acetate emulsion (PVA).
In the next post I’ll cover the way to decide whether you need to use glue or paste for your book repair.