Wheat starch paste

Images and text by Garry Harrison,
Head, Circulating Collections Conservation,
Indiana University Libraries Preservation Department


Wheat starch paste

Wheat paste is the adhesive used with Japanese tissue for paper mending. Our most frequent mending tasks are flat paper mending and book hinge mending. As wheat paste is totally reversible, it is occasionally necessary to create a barrier layer of Japanese tissue adhered with wheat paste under joints made with PVA or mixture, in order to ensure reversibility. Wheat paste is purchased as wheat starch powder and mixed in the sauce cooker to make paste. The starch is highly refined and closely resembles flour. We use Zen Shofu Japanese wheat starch, as we have discovered its paste to be excellent in regard to both performance and mold resistance. After cooking, the paste is worked through a horsehair strainer. Once mixed into paste, it must always be kept refrigerated when not in use.


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