Repair Materials to Avoid

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What materials should I avoid when repairing a valuable book?

Repair Materials to Avoid

Adhesive-backed cellophane tapes such as "Scotch" and "Magic Mending" tape are not generally appropriate for repairs to books which have any value. Both will cause staining and are difficult to remove without damaging the paper. Gummed paper tapes are not recommended. as the tape itself is often acidic, causing discoloration of the paper.

Rubber cement, frequently used to repair damaged bindings, will also cause stains, and eventually will dry out and lose adhesion. Polyvinyl acetate glues such as "Elmer's Glue" are impossible to remove without damaging the paper. These emulsions are also usually acidic, and will discolor and deteriorate paper over time.

The majority of commercially available pastes are acidic in nature, due to the addition of alum as a drying agent; these become brittle and discolored and will similarly damage the paper to which they are applied. Additionally, as most pastes are water-based, they can cause cockling of the paper, and even make certain inks and colors run or bleed.



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