• George W. Powell Jr posted an update 3 years, 9 months ago

    3 years, 9 months ago
    3 years, 9 months ago

    Hi Jeanette (@jeanette-pirlo) – yes I do use Elmer’s glue so if I have to I can reverse it. It does not hurt the fossils or leave anything you don’t want on the fossils. I have been using it for over 40 years so far.

    • I’m interested to learn this bit of news, @george-powell! There is some controversy among fossil preparators that Elmer’s glue is not good for certain kinds of fossils. I wonder if @jkallmeyer, @rleder, or @rnarducci could chime in here? I’m curious if it just depends on the preservation circumstances, or something else?

      • Eleanor I have never had any thing go wrong with it so far & no one has told me that they have had any thing go bad YET.

        • @jeanette-pirlo, @egardner, @george-powell, @rleder, @rnarducci Brenda Hunda, the Curator of invertebrate paleontology at the Cincinnati Museum Center has told all workers never to use PVA glues (Elmer’s, etc) as they are not reversible over time. Yes, they are reversible short term but archivability is not short term. Since I made this statement before and there is still some controversy I decided to rely on Google. On this site: I have found and copied this statement: “Polyvinyl acetate is a synthetic copolymer emulsion that is generally a viscous white or creamy yellow before use which dries clear. PVA is used in various craft, bookbinding, and paper conservation applications. Polyvinyl acetate can be found in acidic adhesives (e.g. woodworking glue, Elmer’s® glue, or “school glue”) as well as acid-free, archival products (e.g. Jade nos. 403 and 711, Rhoplex®, and Lascaux® acrylic). This adhesive class is perhaps the most common type of glue on the market as it is flexible, easy to use, and non-toxic. Bookbinders and conservators use acid-free PVA both as a consolidant and as a glue in conservation treatments. PVAs offered by conservation suppliers are pH neutral. They do not “off-gas” once dry, are believed to not break down over time, and are relatively light stable. However, this adhesive is not easily reversible, and it is sensitive to moisture and humidity.” To George’s point, 40 years may seem like a long time, but to museum collections it is a drop in the bucket. George’s statements do not seem to address reversibility but only that nothing has gone wrong yet. I took that to mean nothing has fallen apart which does not necessarily relate to the question of reversibility.

          I personally have used PVA glue on specimens for display at home that have no scientific value. This includes a ton of our local fossils in Cincinnati. I do not use this adhesive on anything that might have scientific value and that might some day need to be “unglued.” I have been told that I can use DUCO cement, a nitrocellulose cement, that is readily available. It is reversible in acetone forever. I now use this on everything. The museum uses the Butvar products that are reversible with acetone as I understand it.

          I hope this clarifies things.