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Re: [Marbling] Is acid-free paper still acid-free after alumming?

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  • irisnevins
    A little acid goes back on at least with watercolor marbling that uses alum. The side that is not marbled should still be acid free, that is the side that gets
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 11, 2007
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      A little acid goes back on at least with watercolor marbling that uses alum. The side that is not marbled should still be acid free, that is the side that gets glued to the book so it should be fine. There is so little acid, the papers I have tested are so near neutral anyway. Even the old so called acidic papers we used to work on as recently as a few years ago, before the American paper industry went haywire shoveling up to 50% calcium carbonate into the papers because it's cheaper than wood pulp (it's all business, and they get to claim the paper is acid fee as a selling point), and thereby rendering it useless for most marbling, that was generally over ph6 on the good papers.

      I don't know of anyone who "vigorously" rinses. That could take off some of the color. Some marblers don't rinse at all. Still they are near neutral when I have tested them. The old printing papers we used to marble will likely last longer than we do, and the acid free ones just a little longer. If it is a concern the entire paper can be run through a calcium carbonate bath or sprayed with Wei To or a similar deacidifying spray. The colors will not run.

      There is a lot of unnecessary fear due of a teeny bit of acidity. I understand the desire to rebind good books with all acid free products, but the general public seems to have an idea these days that if it has even the slightest acidity it will disintegrate within a few years. There are degrees of acidity. I do not believe most of my customers feel the need to deacidify my papers or other marbled paper. In fact I know many who never do it at all and never worry. The fact that there is a tiny bit seems to terrify people these days. it's not an either or thing, like it is horrible or it is good. Still they fear it. I would not worry about it in scrapbooking or crafts, in rebinding an important book, it would be more of a concern to conservators.

      Iris Nevins



      ----- Original Message -----
      From: pktmarble<mailto:pktlivingstones@...>
      To: Marbling@yahoogroups.com<mailto:Marbling@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Saturday, August 11, 2007 9:57 PM
      Subject: [Marbling] Is acid-free paper still acid-free after alumming?


      This question has surfaced from customers at the gallery. I am not
      sure of the answer & am hoping from expertise in the forum. When
      beginning with acid-free paper for marbling, alumming with aluminum
      sulfate, marbling in a carragheenan size & then vigorouly rinsing,
      does the alum get removed? Does the paper return to an acid-free
      status? Bookbinders, collage artists & even serious scrapbookers
      question the acid-free condition of the marbled papers. I want to
      provide accurate information. Any info?




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      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • katherine coddington
      Alum is an alkali, so that would mean that your marbled paper would be an excellent buffer for any acid environments (ie: leather binding) and hence be
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 12, 2007
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        Alum is an alkali, so that would mean that your marbled paper would be
        an excellent buffer for any acid environments (ie: leather binding)
        and hence be considered conservation-grade paper.

        Katherine


        >
        > This question has surfaced from customers at the gallery. I am not
        > sure of the answer & am hoping from expertise in the forum. When
        > beginning with acid-free paper for marbling, alumming with aluminum
        > sulfate, marbling in a carragheenan size & then vigorouly rinsing,
        > does the alum get removed? Does the paper return to an acid-free
        > status? Bookbinders, collage artists & even serious scrapbookers
        > question the acid-free condition of the marbled papers. I want to
        > provide accurate information. Any info?
        >
      • Søren Ibsen
        Dear Katherine, You are right that Alum used in leather makes it very durable, but it is not the same with paper. The contains of Aluminiumsulphate,
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 13, 2007
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          Dear Katherine,

          You are right that Alum used in leather makes it very durable, but it is
          not the same with paper.

          The contains of Aluminiumsulphate, Potassium-aluminiumsulphat (alum) and
          china clay makes the paper selfdestructive. It hydrolyzes in the paper and
          create aluminimhydoxide and sulphuric acid. We have at least 100 years with
          paper which in the nearest future need deacicification. However I don't
          think it is very harmful to use alum as a mordant for the color, if the
          paper is acid free with a buffer of Calciumcarbonate and of course free
          from lignin.

          Kind regards

          Søren Ibsen

          --On 13. august 2007 03:03 +0000 katherine coddington
          <kcoddington@...> wrote:

          > Alum is an alkali, so that would mean that your marbled paper would be
          > an excellent buffer for any acid environments (ie: leather binding)
          > and hence be considered conservation-grade paper.
          >
          > Katherine
          >
          >
          > >
          > > This question has surfaced from customers at the gallery. I am not
          > > sure of the answer & am hoping from expertise in the forum. When
          > > beginning with acid-free paper for marbling, alumming with aluminum
          > > sulfate, marbling in a carragheenan size & then vigorouly rinsing,
          > > does the alum get removed? Does the paper return to an acid-free
          > > status? Bookbinders, collage artists & even serious scrapbookers
          > > question the acid-free condition of the marbled papers. I want to
          > > provide accurate information. Any info?
          > >
          >
          >
          >




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • irisnevins
          The old papers from 100 years ago were themselves very acidic, and they often did NOT use alum! At least there is barely any reference to its use as a mordant.
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 13, 2007
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            The old papers from 100 years ago were themselves very acidic, and they often did NOT use alum! At least there is barely any reference to its use as a mordant. The papers we have used here for decades, even the non-acid free were very near neutral anyway. Now the paper I use is acid free, or neutral, but it is a German import. My spplier says they do use calcium carbonate, but they use a reasonable amount. The American paper industry (and I have it direct from a friend who works in the CC industry for use in paper) discovered they can replace up to half the wood pulp or other fiber in paper with CC and it saves a fortune, and they get to pretend they care so much about making everything acid free. If CC prices rise drastically someday I'd bet it falls out of such high use! They scare the public into thinking if they use something that is even slightly less than neutral or acid free, that their projects, scrapbooks etc. will crumble in a few months.

            Even if you do get the darned stuff to marble, if you hang it to dry, the lack of other fibers that the CC replaced, it shortens the fibers of the papers and when you hang them wet, the corners tear off and they fall off the line. Many of you know the nightmare we went through several years back when the paper industry discovered that they can shovel tons of CC into the papers.

            You can generally also, if worried, get by (if you have decent paper) with alum solutions much less strong than the usual 1Tbs. to a cup of water. Esp. in winter, I find I can use as little as that measure to a quart or more. I did a lot of experimenting with it. The back of the paper will generally stay dry when I alum too, so I don't imagine there is hardly any seeping through. Personally, I just find the fears of this pretty overblown. A really important early book, I would err on the side of caution. We would like it to remain pristine for 300 years and further deacidify it. The old so called acid papers we all used not that long ago, OK, so maybe without deacidifying they'd last just a few hundred years. This paper you see today that is crumbling from Victorian times too, BTW, is usually the acidic wood pulp text blocks, and rarely is the marbling crumbling... it is generally quite intact.

            Iris Nevins
            www.marblingpaper.com
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Søren Ibsen<mailto:soren.ibsen@...>
            To: Marbling@yahoogroups.com<mailto:Marbling@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Monday, August 13, 2007 9:01 AM
            Subject: Re: [Marbling] Re: Is acid-free paper still acid-free after alumming?


            Dear Katherine,

            You are right that Alum used in leather makes it very durable, but it is
            not the same with paper.

            The contains of Aluminiumsulphate, Potassium-aluminiumsulphat (alum) and
            china clay makes the paper selfdestructive. It hydrolyzes in the paper and
            create aluminimhydoxide and sulphuric acid. We have at least 100 years with
            paper which in the nearest future need deacicification. However I don't
            think it is very harmful to use alum as a mordant for the color, if the
            paper is acid free with a buffer of Calciumcarbonate and of course free
            from lignin.

            Kind regards

            Søren Ibsen

            --On 13. august 2007 03:03 +0000 katherine coddington
            <kcoddington@...<mailto:kcoddington@...>> wrote:

            > Alum is an alkali, so that would mean that your marbled paper would be
            > an excellent buffer for any acid environments (ie: leather binding)
            > and hence be considered conservation-grade paper.
            >
            > Katherine
            >
            >
            > >
            > > This question has surfaced from customers at the gallery. I am not
            > > sure of the answer & am hoping from expertise in the forum. When
            > > beginning with acid-free paper for marbling, alumming with aluminum
            > > sulfate, marbling in a carragheenan size & then vigorouly rinsing,
            > > does the alum get removed? Does the paper return to an acid-free
            > > status? Bookbinders, collage artists & even serious scrapbookers
            > > question the acid-free condition of the marbled papers. I want to
            > > provide accurate information. Any info?
            > >
            >
            >
            >




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




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          • GARRETT DIXON
            Much of the problem with the deterioration of paper in the past 150 years can be attributed to manufacturing issues. Wood pulp replaced cotton and linen as
            Message 5 of 6 , Aug 13, 2007
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              Much of the problem with the deterioration of paper in the past 150 years can be attributed to manufacturing issues. Wood pulp replaced cotton and linen as the primary fiber source and at that time the wood pulp contained lignins, which turned out to be destructive to the paper over time. In addition rosin and even alum was added to the pulp as sizing in the latter half of the nineteenth century, both of which, in combination are destructive to paper. The combined destructive potential of all these items is what gives 19th century paper its bad reputation. Pulp used for paper nowadays is purified ("high alpha cellulose") and good quality paper, today, will often indicate that it is "lignin free", and the other two items are no longer used as fillers/sizing. The alum used in marbling may slightly alter the pH, but I have never read or seen that it alone is sufficient to lead to the deterioration of paper. There is always the concern that the degradation of alum to sulphuric acid over time will shorten the life of the paper, but if this is a real issue there are other mordants that can be used. Aluminum acetate, although more expensive, is a good option and one Joseph Halfer felt preferable to Aluminum sulfate or Potassium aluminum sulfate. It does work quite well. Retention agents, which are used in paper fabrication for holding pigment in the pulp for colored paper, can also be applied to the surface of the paper for marbling (the process is a little more difficult than working with alum but also works well). These agents do not acidify the paper at all, rather their binding ability is based upon positive/negative attraction of the pigment to the chemical. This bonding is weaker than the chemical bonds occurring with alum, and so the papers have to be treated a little differently, but they are an option for someone concerned about the potentially destructive capability of standard alum.

              Garrett Dixon
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: pktmarble
              To: Marbling@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Saturday, August 11, 2007 9:57 PM
              Subject: [Marbling] Is acid-free paper still acid-free after alumming?


              This question has surfaced from customers at the gallery. I am not
              sure of the answer & am hoping from expertise in the forum. When
              beginning with acid-free paper for marbling, alumming with aluminum
              sulfate, marbling in a carragheenan size & then vigorouly rinsing,
              does the alum get removed? Does the paper return to an acid-free
              status? Bookbinders, collage artists & even serious scrapbookers
              question the acid-free condition of the marbled papers. I want to
              provide accurate information. Any info?





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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