Is it true? Let's find out!
Usual way to soften paper before complex shaping is to drool on it. Rumor has it that a tyre side can be easily shaped just by laying it on the edge of a shot glass of strong spirit and waiting until it shapes itself. This calls for verification! As test specimens, we'll use a tyre made of very malleable office paper, combined with a shot of Tatran Tea - a Slovak drink containing around 70 % of ethylalcohol.
Do you see no difference? That's OK because there is none. So this myth is certainly
*** BUSTED ***
But what if someone tries to use alcohol to aid normal manual shaping? Let's try.
For comparison, the two wheels on the left were made with the classic drooling technique. On the right, there is a still flat ring eagerly awaiting its alcoholic experience. Material: two layers of office paper, laminated together with a Koh-i-noor dry glue stick.
Let's use the most alcoholic alcohol of all alcohols:
Pure synthetic ethanol (don't be confused by the milk bottle, it is just a replacement of the original leaky one).
We will use the same burnishing tool as with the previous two tyres:
Luckily, this loop of thick wire has just the right diameter. If you are interested, such net can be bought in houseware shops (it is for keeping frying oil from sizzling out of the pan).
Shaping in progress:
The alcohol dries out very quickly, so it must be applied frequently, reverting the paper back to the flat shape. So a lot of patience is needed.
Surprisingly, it does work. The ring delaminated a little on one end and it's hard to say if it was caused by the alcohol or by many times repeated brutal burnishing. The whole process was about three times longer than the saliva method, plus the alcoholic fumes... if I had a choice, I certainly wouldn't stick with the alcohol :-).
Now what's the conclusion for us. Can an alcohol be used to soften a paper? Yes. Is it a method suitable for everyday use? No. So it's just theoretically
*** PLAUSIBLE ***