Book First Aid, Part Three

What, you thought that was it on the first aid front? No! My Italian friend gave me two books, the second being this paperback which was nonetheless sewn in signatures – without tapes – and glued straight into a spine which had completely disintegrated.

After thinking hard I decided the best thing to do was to salvage as much of the cover images as I could and re-glue them onto proper hard covers, mending the individual pages and sewing them onto tapes and into a full cloth binding.

Something I forgot to photograph was the smoke damage on some of the pages. I asked my colleagues on the Book Arts Listserve how best to deal with the discolouration of the pages using a low-tech solution and they recommended a dry cleaning pad – which I just happen to have. Used gently the pad abraded the soot off the pages: it wasn’t perfect but it did help and ultimately the pages were readable if not fully ‘clean’. And I’ve conquered my fear of hard cover binding!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed restoring both books: there’s the technical satisfaction of doing a half-way decent job, but also the happy thought that I’ve prolonged the useful life of the books by another few decades (I hope) which makes it all worthwhile. No cash has exchanged hands: instead we’ll be bartering for services in kind in due course! The owner is a tree surgeon, after all…

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