One of the best pastes used in bookbinding is rice flour paste, not
only is it the strongest of all the pastes but it also dries
The only problem with all hand-made pastes, be it wheat flour, starch or rice flour, is that it sours and moulds very quickly. A good way of preserving the life of the paste for upto 2-4 weeks is to drop a few whole cloves in the mixture before boiling, anything with a strong odour (turpentine for example) is not only a good preservant but also keeps the bugs at bay. I also find that salycilic acid (crushed asprin) is also an excellent preservant and is a formulae I use often.
If the paste needs to be a little more tenacious then mix with the flour a sixth or eighth part of its weight of powdered alum, adding gum arabic or any kind of size.
The best way of preventing bookworm can only be controlled by the binder by adding the correct formulae to the paste used for covering the books.
There is a small insect, Aglossa pinguinalis that deposits it's larvae in books in the autumn, especially in the leaves nearest the cover. These gradually produce a kind of mites that do the binding great damage.
But the most destuctive are the little wood-boring beetles, anobium pertinax and striatum. There is an instance recorded in the 19th century where, in a public library but little frequented, twenty seven
folio volumes were perforated in a straight line by the same insect, in
such a manner that, on passing a cord through the perfectly round hole
made by it, these twenty seven volumes could be raised at once.
As already mentioned the seat of the mischief appears to lie in the binding, and the best preventative against their attacks is mineral salts, to which all insects have an aversion.
Alum and vitriol are proper for this purpose and is advisable to mix a portion with the paste used for covering the books i.e. preventative medicine is the best cure.