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1942RE: [Marbling] alum

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  • Franklyn Smith
    Sep 17, 2003
      What Don said is that the aluminum in the alum (aluminum sulphate,
      magnesium aluminum sulphate or potassium aluminum suplphate, never
      ammonium sulphate which has no aluminum - but I am sure you know all
      that) combines with the glychocolic acid in the oxgall to form aluminum
      glycolate which is benign and that any free alum has been washed off in
      washing the paper. It is the free alum which deteriorates the paper.

      I do sponge the alum (as taught by Don) because I want the minimum
      possible to be absorbed by the paper. If you dip or soak paper in the
      alum solution they absorb much more than with sponging.

      With the alum rosin sizing which was so destructive of paper, the rosin
      was the major destructive element.

      Are you adding the alum to boiling water, in which case there is almost
      no time while it is in the form of crystals? I dilute after it is
      dissolved in the boiling water (again as taught by Don).

      Shelagh Smith

      -----Original Message-----
      From: irisnevins [mailto:IrisNevins@...]
      Sent: September 16, 2003 8:04 AM
      To: INTERNET:Marbling@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [Marbling] alum

      thanks Vi.....

      Guess next week's experiment will be to see if increasing alum
      helps....now Don made a case I believe for alum being a preservative,
      not a destroyer of papers as I recall.....before anyone gets worried
      about the evils of alum. Do you remember exactly what he had found? As
      memory serves me (likely not well due to eating alum!) at the Baltimore
      gathering he said the papers that had been alumed outlived the ones that
      had not...but I forget why. Some say it rots fabric.

      more unknowns, eh? fun....NOT!

      Message text written by INTERNET:Marbling@yahoogroups.com
      >Hi Iris

      Don't throw out your stock of Classic laid and linen. This problem of
      buffering is one I have been dealing with for ages, and have come up
      with a

      few strategies. Leave the paper open to the air for a while. I have a
      theory that when opened, the paper absorbs some of the impurities in the

      atmosphere which seem not to be detrimental to the marbling process.

      When I opened a pack of linen (not classic) the colours simply would
      hold on the surface. When I tried it again a couple of months later, it

      was definitely better, though not perfect. The dark ridge of colour
      the bottom of the paper is something I get quite often. This pack of

      also left a white deposit on the surface. Iris, I know its a pain, but
      when I have paper that reacts this way, I wipe over the surface of the
      paper with a dry cloth before I lay it down. This step removes the
      substance (which I believe absorbs the colour thus preventing it from
      adhering to the paper surface underneath) from the surface of the
      paper. And because this is a dust, perhaps a mask is necessary.

      A few years ago, Don Guyot was in despair over a pack of Crane's distaff

      linen he had bought and had colours running off. I brought some back to

      Australia with me, and had no trouble marbling it. When I was there on
      later visit I did a test for him. Alummed the paper, left it for half
      hour, then marbled it. Great! We alummed another couple of sheets,
      out for lunch, and when we came back marbled those sheets. Colour
      off in patches. He kept the pack and marbled the sheets sooner after

      Different coloured papers also react differently. I had some papers

      recently for their pH. Grey Oxford was much more acid than Ivory
      Oxford. I have a pH pen and check the acidity of papers, which gives me
      guide as to how I should deal with them - ie like marbling them sooner
      after alumming. I don't always sponge papers. However, on papers that
      throw a white substance, I think sponging them can contribute to the

      distribution of colour on the sheet. Alumming by laying down (as you

      paper on the size) on the alum solution, gives a more even result with
      alumming, but also a more even result when the colour washes off!! It
      for this reason that I wipe them over with a cloth.

      Another suggestion is to slightly increase the strength of the alum. I
      agree with your comments about acidity. A slightly acid paper works
      infinitely better than one which is heavily buffered. It is a bit like
      everything else these days. You have to wonder sometimes if the baby is

      being thrown out with the bathwater.

      Calcium carbonate and alum are definitely not compatible. Another
      buffering material is AKD alkylketenedimer (sp.?) composition of which
      unknown, but almost certainly contains calcium carbonate.

      I realize with the production marbling you do, it is an inconvenience to

      have to make adjustments to a routine you have developed. I wish I
      give you a magic solution. Guess I am prepared to make the adjustments
      since I do not do production marbling.

      Incidentally, the Classic linen you kindly gave me after the Gathering,
      marbles beautifully. It has been tucked in my paper shelf for a year!


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