book repair, part one

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This semester I am taking a short book repair course for some introductory knowledge of basic book conservation principles and techniques. In this course, we have discussed types of materials we might come across in a conservation lab, and how to guard and mend textblocks using Japanese tissues.

I began working on a book that belonged to my great grandfather. As seen below, the book was in need of rebinding. The spine piece was crumbling away, held on by some tape years ago.

The first step in our process was to describe the book’s condition, carefully documenting the position of sections and plates within the text, and making note of any missing pages or anomalies. This documentation will help us down the road when we are ready to reassemble the text after we finish our repairs. Next, we pulled the book, carefully detaching the cover boards and spine linings, then scraping excess adhesive from the spine in preparation of separating each section of the book.

After pulling the sections apart, I was still left with adhesive on the folds of each section. I used my fingers to carefully detach the final layer of adhesive, making sure to avoid any additional tearing of the paper.

spine before scraping

spine before scraping

spine after scraping

spine after scraping