Methyl Cellulose is non-toxic, none digestible, chemical compound derived from cellulose (plant fibers); it has a neutral pH, dries clear, and provides very flexible bonds. In bookbinding, Methyl Cellulose has many uses, the main one of which is as a mild glue for delicate works such as affixing silk to boards/paper or for book restoration repair. The fact that methylcellulose is reversible dries with a matt finish and isn’t affected by extreme temperatures makes it ideal for use when dealing with archival work.
Disadvantages of Methyl Cellulose
It is not suitable for use in high humidity
It’s not particularly strong (much weaker than PVA)
Methyl Cellulose can also be mixed with PVA glue to help give more ‘slip’ and prolong its drying time without affecting its strength. MC is normally purchased as a granular white powder and has an infinite shelf-life.
Another less common use for Methyl Cellulose is to help loosen and break down old glue from spines, bookboards, paper linings etc. You can also use MC to thicken water baths ready for marbling paper or fabric.
Methylcellulose is the main ingredient in many common wallpaper pastes on the market and can be easily washed off with water. It’s also used as ‘sizing’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sizing) in the production of paper and textiles (applied during the production of paper and canvasses to reduce the absorbtion of water by minimizing the material's absorption through capillary action).
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