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Old 01-07-2020, 12:29 PM
Titanwhite Titanwhite is offline
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'mucilage' what is it? ink question

In a Vintage Shellac ink recipe a ingredient is Mucilage, but it is no longer available.

Any one knows what I can use instead?
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Old 01-07-2020, 01:39 PM
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Re: 'mucilage' what is it? ink question

Sorry I can't help but if Pedlars Pen doesn't read your question, please pm him, he might well have an idea about this.
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Old 01-07-2020, 01:42 PM
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Re: 'mucilage' what is it? ink question

Mucilage, is a sort of gluey substance made from plants, almost like a gelatin. For ink they used mucilage of acacia. That's basically gum arabic which is still available as a paint additive, normally in the watercolor section.

I'm guessing in your recipe, it's probably used to thicken the ink. I would use less then they ask and add it little by little until you get the viscosity that you prefer.

I'd love to see what you're doing when you're done.
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Old 01-07-2020, 10:41 PM
indraneel indraneel is offline
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Re: 'mucilage' what is it? ink question

gum arabic/acacia should be available at most middle eastern /north african / south asian grocery store. We use it here to make very tasty sweets from whole wheat flour and nuts/raisins.

I do not know if gum tragacanth is a replacement. it has to be used more sparingly than acacia gum and is usually used as a thickener (in ice creams etc) or binders for dry soft pastels, but acacia gum will hold the ink to paper like .... gum!

There is also almond gum which will keep u cool in summer when added to milk shakes.....

There are plenty of other tree gums, many are used as incense.

Dissolve in water at room temperature and strain before use.
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Old 01-08-2020, 11:19 AM
pedlars pen pedlars pen is offline
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Re: 'mucilage' what is it? ink question

Yes Indraneel & vmrs are dead right, however the gum arabic is very widely available in the west, little need to go to a specialist food shop or pay the inflated prices of artists suppliers because the stuff they sell for icing cakes & other food making is very fine, pure & cheap too
I'm surprised your old ink recipe didn't use gum arabic because it has been used for many hundreds of years in the east & west for this very purpose.
Indeed it is known as gum arabic because it first arrived on camels via the silk road !
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Last edited by pedlars pen : 01-08-2020 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 01-09-2020, 01:08 PM
blackandwhite blackandwhite is online now
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Re: 'mucilage' what is it? ink question

If mucilage is there to thicken the ink, gum arabic is not a good substitute. Gum arabic would have to be used way more than 10% of the ink volume to have any thickening effect. Such amounts will make any shellac ink non-waterproof.

Better substitute could be CMC or other cellulose gum (maybe about 1% of ink volume) or other similar stuff that causes thickening when mixed with water.

All of those will need preservative (e.g. tiny amount of glove oil) to prevent bacteria growth. Without preservatives the ink will go rancid in few days - few weeks.
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Old 01-09-2020, 06:04 PM
pedlars pen pedlars pen is offline
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Re: 'mucilage' what is it? ink question

I'm left feeling a little confused by your reply B&W.
Really mucilage is a catch all term for all types of gum including gum arabic but comes from many plants. Gum arabic has been used for many centuries for this very purpose , it works admirably , is cheaply & widely available - um - why complicate things ?
Gum arabic is added not only to thicken (if you are using it to noticeably thicken it at all) but to prevent it bleeding on the page that property is it's crucial first priority.
A second often very important reason for it's inclusion is to increase the surface tension of the ink so that it will span the sometimes wide gap between the tines on a dip pen when in full flow .
That increased surface tension also allows for a larger load of pigment to be deposited thus giving a blacker line - Gum arabic does all this just fine - why fix what ain't broke ?
I don't know where you got shellac from , it isn't mentioned ? however NO you would never include GA. in a shellac ink recipe anyway because it, in itself thickens the ink plenty enough by it's self so would be totally superfluous.
The volume of gum arabic needed to thicken the ink in no way compromises the amount of pigment that can be suspended in the water base ( you are not even near saturation point of course ) - so no need to source any different gum. either.
Mike

Last edited by pedlars pen : 01-09-2020 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 01-18-2020, 01:48 PM
blackandwhite blackandwhite is online now
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Re: 'mucilage' what is it? ink question

Hi Mike!
It seems that we have different sources for the information. According to what I've learnt, mucilage is a term for gellifying plant gums that are very different than the characteristics of gum arabic. But that is just one way to classify things and there are definitely more broader classifications where those types merge.

Gum arabic in water causes the surface tension to drop, not increase. There is data about that in book "Gums, Adhesives & Sealants Technology" that has nice previews available in google books. In inks the emulsifying and homogenizing capabilities of gum arabic might be beneficial, especially if there are difficult pigments such as carbon black (soot).

Shellac was mentioned in the original post in this thread, where the question was about mucilage in shellac ink recipe.
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Old 01-18-2020, 03:56 PM
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Ted Bunker Ted Bunker is offline
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Re: 'mucilage' what is it? ink question

My art dictionary says muciliage is a gummy adhesive made from boiled gum arabic. Muciliage used to be used as a common paper adhesive and in bookbinding before rubber cement and PVA glues.
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Old 01-18-2020, 09:24 PM
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Re: 'mucilage' what is it? ink question

How might gum arabic or CMC effect waterproof-ness in a shellac-based recipe?

Side note: mucilage from cooked okra is what helps make your gumbo nice and thick, or, as some would say, slimy.
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Old 01-18-2020, 10:18 PM
indraneel indraneel is offline
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Re: 'mucilage' what is it? ink question

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackandwhite
Gum arabic in water causes the surface tension to drop, not increase.

no. you are wrong, mike is right, and any books saying otherwise will get punched in the face low surface tension soapy inks are only for little kids with steel nib fountain pens. real men use thick ink
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