Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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A surface coating of an organic material that dries solely by the evaporation of the solvent and without any chemical change taking place in the film. The most important lacquers are based on cellulose derivatives, e.g., a cellulose ester, such as cellulose acetate or cellulose nitrate, or a cellulose ether, such as methyl or benzyl cellulose, etc., together with modifying agents, such as plasticizers, resins. waxes, and pigments. Lacquers are used in coating cloth, leather, and paper to decrease water vapor transmission rates and provide heat-sealing properties, water and grease resistance, and gloss, as well as decorative effects. Their use in archival work is questionable, however, as the solvents used in them emit toxic fumes, and the films themselves begin to deteriorate after a relatively short time, particularly if exposed to ultraviolet light.

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