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gum "pedigree"

  • To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
  • Subject: gum "pedigree"
  • From: geoff chaplin <geoff@geoffgallery.net>
  • Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009 14:36:57 +0900
  • Comments: "alt-photo-process mailing list"
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For the past year I have been using “Yamato Arabic” – an inexpensive Japanese glue available in any stationers in Japan. The ingredients of this glue are not known to me – despite the name I suspect it is not (or at least not entirely) made from gum arabic. The density is very low (about 1.02) despite being quite a thick syrupy glue to work with. At the same time I have been using a rather weak (1.06 density) glue made by myself from Atlantis’ (UK art supplier) “finest quality” gum Arabic crystals, and more recently a stronger version (1.09) from the same crystals. Both of these gums are much more liquid than the Yamato.


Differences in performance are significant. Firstly in terms of usage the Yamato works very well on Saunders Waterford (HP or Not) but consistently fails to adhere to smooth papers such as Fabriano Artistico. Also in application of the gum/pigment/dichromate mix the Yamato works best and gives a smoother finish if there is no second dry-brush smoothing of the surface. In contrast the gum Arabic seems to stick to anything and generally benefits from a dry brush smoothing. Secondly in terms of print appearance there is a difference but I wouldn’t describe one as ‘better’. The Yamato produces an earthier looking print while the genuine gum has a more ‘refined’ appearance – I often prefer the former in fact.


One other odd thing (can anyone explain this?) – if I mix the Yamato with W&N Raw Sienna in a low humidity atmosphere [and I’m not 100% sure that that is the defining variable that causes the reaction] I get a sticky mess like half set acrylic glue. Any other W&N pigment is fine, and the same pigment from Holbein is also fine …..


Geoff Chaplin

 ジェフ チャップリン




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