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1945RE: [Marbling] alum

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  • V. Wilson
    Sep 17, 2003
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      Hi Shelagh

      I do not recall Don ever advocating boiling water - quite the opposite in
      fact. That was one of the advantages of using alum sulfate as it could be
      dissolved in cold water.

      Notes from his Baltimore lecture state:

      "Aluminum sulfate emerges as the alum of choice for marbling paper because
      of its solubility; because of its having neither ammonia nor potassium
      associated with it; because a weaker solution of it will do as well as a
      stronger solution of the other two; and because a weaker solution of an
      acidic material is to be preferred when the material contacts paper. In
      fact, six level tablespoons of aluminum sulfate crystals dissolved in one
      gallon of ordinary tap water, at room temperature, will produce an
      adequately strong solution of alum. This alum will facilitate the needed
      reaction with the oxgall without leaving behind either a lot of impurities
      (ammonia and potassium, which incidentally have to go somewhere, perhaps
      into the size, thus spoiling it early?) or hundreds of small deposits of
      reacted (i.e. acidic) alum which are difficult to remove without subjecting
      the paper to harmfully hot water."

      This was the benchmark Don used but different water supplies and the
      current issue of buffered paper may mean an increase in alum strength for
      some marblers.

      Vi W

      At 07:48 AM 17/09/2003 -0400, you wrote:
      >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!
      >Iris
      >
      >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
      >not
      >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
      >along
      >the bottom of the paper is something I get quite often. This pack of
      >linen
      >
      >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
      >loose
      >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
      >a
      >later visit I did a test for him. Alummed the paper, left it for half
      >an
      >hour, then marbled it. Great! We alummed another couple of sheets,
      >went
      >out for lunch, and when we came back marbled those sheets. Colour
      >washed
      >off in patches. He kept the pack and marbled the sheets sooner after
      >alumming.
      >
      >Different coloured papers also react differently. I had some papers
      >tested
      >
      >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
      >a
      >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
      >uneven
      >
      >distribution of colour on the sheet. Alumming by laying down (as you
      >would
      >
      >paper on the size) on the alum solution, gives a more even result with
      >the
      >alumming, but also a more even result when the colour washes off!! It
      >is
      >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
      >is
      >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
      >could
      >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!
      >
      >Best
      >Vi<
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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