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  1. #1
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    Question for paper makers

    I destroy books for a living. I cut them apart to make buttons and pocket mirrors etc. But then I have a bunch of stuff left over and I hate wasting, so I've been trying to use more of the leftover parts in other projects.

    I'm starting to cut the covers and pages down to make some spiral bound books. But then there are still lots of little scraps of paper left over.

    So, here's the question:
    Can I use this paper to make handmade paper? I mean some of it's pretty old and has that musty old-book smell. And a lot of it is very yellowed, so I'm thinking maybe it's not acid free. I don't want to go through the trouble of making paper if it's not going to be acid free. I'm also concerned that the musty smell might mean it's a little moldy or something.

    What do you think?

    And is there something I can add to the slurry (is that the right word?) that would make it acid-free and/or kill the mold? (if there is indeed mold)

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  3. #2
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    ChristineRenee, I just got a book out of the library on papermaking that included information on how to deal with this. I'll look it up and post back here later. :)

  4. #3
    Junior Member
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    paper making

    I work in a library and am constantly looking for uses for old discarded books! Yes!, I make paper with the old pages, and yes not all are acid free and sometimes the paper comes out yellow. The "bad" pages i cut into slices and give them out as bookmarks, they are very popular with the patrons. Some of the paper comes out pretty well... I like to add some larger scraps at the end of blending the pulp up, it looks really cool to be able to distinguish some of the letters and words on the paper.
    Good Luck! There are many uses for old books besides the trash bin!

  5. #4
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    That's encouraging, azpines! (And I'm glad to hear that all those discarded library books aren't going to waste.) Now I'm excited to give this a try.

    Artgeek, I would love to hear what the book has to say on the subject. Thanks!

  6. #5
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    Hm. Just reread the chapter on choosing pulp ingredients and it seems that most of the mold related info has to do with your stored pulp going bad. The author recommends allowing your pulp to soak in a bath of water and a small amount of bleach to kil any mold; however, if you're working with already brittle papers, the combination of brittle paper + bleach will weaken your final product.

    As to deacidifying your papers, I'm curious if adding any of the archival sprays to your vat of water and pulp while making paper would do the trick. Some examples (I've not used any of these, though, so I can't make recommendations):
    http://www.scrapbook-archivers.com/products.html
    http://www.archival.com/productcatal...fication.shtml
    http://www.genealogicalstorageproduc...deacspray.html

    I'm also going to shoot an e-mail to a friend of mine who is a book conservator and see if she could recommend any products. :)

  7. #6
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    Thanks, Artgeek! You're awesome!

    It sounds like I should probably not use the paper that is really brittle. I have plenty of paper that is just a little yellowed but still pretty healthy looking.

    And thanks for the links. I'm going to check out some of these products right now.

  8. #7
    Senior Member
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    If you *also* wanted to use the brittle paper, maybe you could set it aside when you're breaking up the books and use the brittle pages to cut out phrases or words or blocks of text. After your pulp is on the screen, you could add these little pieces, sort of as a reference to where the bulk of your paper came from? The brittle paper would then be a decorative element, but not have any impact on the strength of your final sheet.

    I'm a bit of a recycling maniac when it comes to papermaking, you may note.


 

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