While my time at North Bennet Street School is largely focused on creating different book structures, I have learned a few techniques and strategies about book conservation and preservation. Learning how to assemble a book from the very first fold to the final casing in is important when assessing damaged items. Working forwards helps when working backwards. Disassembling text blocks, preserving boards and repairing tears are only a few of the things I have learned at school. There is so much more to learn and I think I am finally ready -- not to simply make boxes to protect old books -- to face repair challenges and execute any conservation or preservation mission that comes my way... and then of course make a box for it.
The following is a repair I completed earlier this year. The spine of Introduction to Parasitology was completely torn and falling off, however, I still wanted to keep it. I first removed the cover boards from the text block as well as the crusty endpapers. The spine had a hard layer of old glue and gunk so I applied methyl cellulose, allowed it to soak for a bit and carefully scraped off the excess material. Then I used wheat paste to adhere a strip of japanese tissue to the spine, followed by an extended cloth lining and a layer of mohawk superfine paper.
The next step was to apply new endpapers. As the spine and new sheets dried I took the time to match a strip of plain cloth (airplane cotton) to the original boards of the book which were in fine condition. I would use this strip as a background to adhere the original spine (in four pieces to begin with).
The rest of the project involves lifting parts of the boards and tucking material and gluing back up. To my fellow binders out there -- I believe I completed a traditional Rebacking.
The final product is a book that can be flipped through and held without crumbled or tearing.
I made a clam shell box with a built-in cradle for the book as a treat for my first re-back.