Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Book Restoration

by Rick Blechta

A good year or two ago I posted some videos about how leather-bound books are made and restored. Since we all enjoy books, I figured visitors to Type M would be interested. That turned out to be an understatement. Everyone found the videos as engrossing as I did.

Here’s one I ran across the other day and the skill level of the restorer is quite amazing. Some interesting parts — like how disassembled volumes are re-assembled — are missing, but there is a lot of solid and engrossing information here.

So I thought I would share it with everyone. We all have a few “well-loved books” in need of help. I certainly do. I just wonder what this talented woman’s fee would be.



Susan D said...

Interesting, but....
OMG. Seriously? She soaked the pages? Any time I've dropped a book off the dock (actually, one of them simply leaped; the other slid down between the boards) they have never been the same again, no matter how much I dried them, ironed them, weighted them down for days on end. No. They're still in pretty sad shape.

Anna said...

Good rag paper survives soaking. Not surprising, since it began its life in a bath, much like us. Years ago a nice man decided to learn bookbinding and offered to practice on my well-loved anthology of poems, promising a lovely cloth binding to replace the original textbook-style composition binding. The new cloth binding is nice, but he sewed up the signatures in the wrong order; I think his dyslexia must have taken over.

Rick Blechta said...

To both Susan and Anna, that's one of the things I would have liked to be included in the story. Both of you are right. Rag paper will survive a dunking (if dried properly). The cheaper acid-free paper that began being used in the mid-20th Century will not survive being put in water, so obviously the technique in the video of removing tape and cement by soaking will not work on a more modern volume where acid-free paper was used. I wonder what techniques will work on that kind of paper?

Thanks for commenting!