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Subject: Microwave ovens

Microwave ovens

From: Adam Larsson <adam.larsson>
Date: Tuesday, October 15, 1996
>... Is
>there a problem with using a microwave oven to heat something like a
>sturgeon glue or a rice paste before using it?

Last summer when my colleague Bo Carlsson and I took the elevator up
to the lunch room with some animal glue, we wondered if it would be
possible to heat the glue in the microwave instead of using the time
and effort consuming glue-pot we have been using since times
beginning. The test worked out well and the day after we bought a
microwave oven for the bindery.

We have been using the microwave oven for heating animal glue and
cooking starch paste for more than one year now. We have found that
for heating animal glue, the microwave suits us and the way we work
very well. Since 90% of the work we perform here are repairs, we
usually need a very small amount of animal glue maybe up to five
times in one day.

When using the glue-pot you have to keep it going for about 15-20
minutes before the glue is ready for use while adding water that
keeps evaporating. When we started to use the microwave for the same
purpose we noticed that the glue keeps fresh for a longer time, and
it doesn't take as much water as the glue-pot.

We use a microwave proof container where we dilute the glue with
water, heating it in the microwave until we have a good consistency
of animal glue and after that we just have to heat the container for
about 60 to 80 seconds each time we need some. We have also noticed
that it's better to have a small amount, approximately 2 dl, in the
container at a time, otherwise it's difficult to estimate the time
needed for it in the microwave and it's easy to "burn your cooking".

As I mentioned before it's not as time and effort consuming as with
a glue-pot and it doesn't take as much water. And when we used the
glue-pot, the electricity required to have the pot going for
approximately 5 hours a day is just so much more than what's needed
for less than 10 minutes of microwaving a day. Naturally, if I need
larger amounts of glue for larger work I still use the glue-pot as
the microwaved glue stays heated for only about ten minutes.

As for cooking paste, the microwave oven is very good. I mix the paste as
for normal cooking on the heating plate, and put it in the microwave and
let it cook for one minute at a time, stirring after every minute, until it
is ready. I know of several other binderies that have been using the
microwave oven for paste cooking for many years now with no problems, but
for heating animal glue I know of no other than ourselves.

Adam Larsson
Uppsala University Library

                  Conservation DistList Instance 10:39
                Distributed: Wednesday, October 16, 1996
                       Message Id: cdl-10-39-006
Received on Tuesday, 15 October, 1996

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