On Saturday (yes, Saturday) March 24, I traveled to the Etherington Conservation Center in Brown Summit, NC for an Advanced Book Repair workshop sponsored by the NC Preservtion Consortium. The workshop was taught by two ECC conservators, Matt Johnson and Sally Key. These two knowledgeable people covered many topics for the 12 participants gathered that day. Sally and Matt spent some time discussing conservation adhesives which can be broken down into 4 groups:

  1. Starch/Cellulose adhesives – rice or wheat pastes;
  2. Ether Cellulose Adhesives – Methyl Cellulose;
  3. Protein Based Adhesives – Hide or fish glues; and
  4. Synthetic Adhesives – PVA (the glue I use most often in Preservation).

My favorite part of the workshop was the cooking and mixing of rice starch paste. This archival, reversible paste is made by taking the rice starch powder and mixing it with water into a slurry. Boiling water is then added to make a sort of translucent goo. Trust me, its good stuff! This one demonstration made the workshop worthwhile for me.

We also discussed and practiced re-sewing loose signatures onto a text block, cleaning off old adhesives, and various Japanese hinging papers. We also made a new case for a text block from binder’s board and conservation buckram. All in all, it was a worthwhile workshop. Anyone who wants my recipe to make rice starch paste in the microwave-just ask!