Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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spermaceti wax

A pearly white, fatty substance obtained from the cavities of the head of the cachalot (sperm) whale, Physeter macrocephalus, by hot water treatment. Upon cooling, the wax separates out and is pressed to remove some of the (sperm) oil. The wax is then remelted and washed with a weak carbonate solution before being cast into molds for setting into blocks. It has a softening range of 40 to 44° C. and is easily emulsified with water. It is sometimes used as a lubricant for leather bindings, usually in combination with other materials in LEATHER DRESSINGS . (195 , 291 )

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