Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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A wax obtained from the hives of bees, i.e., an animal wax. Beeswax is a complex substance secreted by the worker bees for the purpose of constructing honeycombs. The wax is obtained by melting the honeycomb structure, and then filtering the wax before it is allowed to set. Beeswax usually contains a number of mineral wax adulterants. The wax, which is often bleached by shredding it into thin flakes and setting it out in the sun, has a softening range of 62-66° C. It is used: 1) to lubricate the thread used in sewing books by hand; 2) withLANOLIN and other substances for LEATHER DRESSINGS . In the latter use it is considered valuable by some conservationists because, as it is harder than most other waxes, it supplies body to the dressing at a reasonably low softening temperature, and also provides a polished or glossy finish which some find desirable; its use, however, as well as that of any wax on leather, is considered by a number of authorities to be detrimental to the permanence of leather; 3) as a base for the colors used inMARBLING ; and 4) to provide a suitable surface for burnishing the gilt edges of books, although it is generally considered to be inferior toCARNAUBA WAX in this application, as carnauba is less likely to streak. (29 , 291 , 335 )

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