Saturday, September 19, 2009

More book repair stuff

Since I was fixing these 2 books anyway, it occurred to me (after I'd gotten started, of course) to document and post another book repair entry, this time showing what I do when a book has completely split apart.

For anyone who happens by -- I talked about the basic materials in my first post on repairing books -- so I won't repeat that here, I'll just refer any interested readers to that post, but I will repeat one thing which is too important to skip:

NEVER repair a book unless you are willing to destroy its value. Repair pretty much does exactly that. If you want to sell it, collectors would rather have it in disrepair. Really. Repair only no-value books that need to be used and handled.

OK. You'll see 2 books here, but i'll show the repair steps for the more complicated one.
It's complicated mostly by my choice. I want to keep the original bookplate and to keep all of the original paper of that ripped endpage.

You may not want to. It would be simpler and would, in fact, look neater to discard the torn paper and make a big, neat, new pastedown. But I like the plate. I like the personal history in an old book. And I also tend to keep as much of a book's original material as possible ... just ... because!

The general idea is to secure the text block to the cover.

The first step requires a decision. There's paper backing against the bound page edges.

The bookbinding guide calls this the "hollow back." It is NOT hollow, it's thoroughly glued to the bound edges, but they call it that.

Is that backing secure? Or is it shredding, or peeling off?

If it needs fixing or replacing, this is the time to do either one, by gluing it down, or peeling it away and replacing it, the same way I have placed new paper on this one.

Two views, one from each angle:

But in this case, the old backing was very securely glued down already and needed no attention, so I just placed the new piece on top of it.

Now -- BEFORE gluing the book together, it's a very very good idea to close the book on the new piece.

This shows me exactly how the piece will conform to the cover.
AND when I DO put glue on the pieces, they will already be shaped to each other and will fit together in their natural position, without pulling against each other.

All I need to do now is glue the new piece onto the cover.

IMPORTANT : NOTE that I have put NO GLUE ON THE SPINE. The cloth spine is not supposed to stick to the back of the pages. The text block, as it's called, just kind of hangs into the spine like a hammock, attached ONLY at the hinges.

Press it together. Since glue always oozes out around the edges, lay wax paper between the repair and its facing page, till the glue dries.

If I were discarding the old torn edges, I'd pretty much be finished, but I chose to trim the new piece to fit around the plate ... and to glue the torn paper back onto the pastedown. It looks kind of yucky, since it's been crumpled down into the spine, probably for decades, and darkened. But I wanted to put it back where it belonged!

And here are both books. In the other one you can see that this technique makes a pretty neat repair, especially if you sort-of color match new paper to the old paper.

This is another book I should sell. I'm not sure that a real booklover should even be in this business. I should sell collectible thimbles or something.

Marvels of Insect Life, by Edward Step. NY:Robert M. McBride, 1916.

Loads of amazing photos. as well as the spectacular color plates. This photo close-up of a honeybee's tongue is amazing. Maybe I'll sell it ... um ... later.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Interesting indeed. I recently sold a biography of GA Henty to a collector in England despite it having been nibbled at the very edge of the spine by some long-gone puppy nearly a century ago. (Tiny little teeth marks) He said he has a book repair expert who can fix it, but that's at the collector level. The work you do is more practical for those of us who just need to get the book back up and ready to be read!