Repairing a chip in a Leather Spine

Repairing a chip in a Leather Spine


Color touch up and quck fix to spine chip- Lamb -  Essays of Elia 9

The key to this quick fix is to understand the anatomy of this book. The spine has a natural hollow area between the liner of the text-spine and the liner of the case-spine. This must be preserved to maintain the functionality and in fact also to maintain the aesthetics of the cover. Before getting to the chip repair, I followed along the usual hierarchy for leather books. Clean and Protect, then I moved on to Color and finally came around to Correct and Paste which is where this part of the repair takes place. Afterwards would be the Protect portion which is where I apply leather dressing and sc6000.

 

 

Shakspeare Box Repair: A bit on Tape

This is a very short video looking at some of the problems of a book box from 1904. This box has been previously repaired with what is most likely document repair tape which is an archival solution that is limited in it's appeal. For one thing it just looks like white tape has been applied. It doesn't blend in. Also, it is not easily reversible. If it had been applied with paste and tissue it could easily be re-done. Another problem with the box is that the seller taped directly onto some printing in the inner lid and this caused damage that is hard to repair and was easy to avoid.

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Book Repair Method: Corner Repair

Blog supplement for the YouTube video:

Book Repair DIY Corner Repair

Repairing the damaged corner of a book is really easy. There are just a few things you need to be careful of and this goes for leather as well as book-cloth books.

If you have the DIY Basic Book Repair Kit you will already have these tools and materials.

  1. Paste
  2. Paint brush (1/4 inch wide or so)
  3. Micro-spatula or the Book Repair Knife
  4. Japanese tissue: Moriki (color to match the cover)
  5. Waxed Paper
  6. Bone Folder
  7. Bulldog Clip
  8. Pressing Board
  9. Spray Bottle
  10. Optional: Weights of some sort (to help prop up the book)
  11. Optional: Paper towel or clean damp rag in a bowl for keeping fingers clean.

To start, get a container (a coffee cup is fine) and put a bit (Tablespoon or so) of paste in the container and then spritz a bit of water into it and mix it up with the brush. It should be spreadable not runny. The point is not only to make the paste go further by watering it down a bit  but it will also soak into the fibers of the book-board more easily if it is a bit wetter. Not too wet or that can cause staining to the cover material and take a really long time to dry.

Next take the knife and cut into the covering material if it isn’t already missing along the edges of the corner. Make the cut in the middle of the edge for at least an inch on either side. Peel back the covering material to expose the board. Using the micro-spatula for this is safer than using the knife.

Then use the micro-spatula to pry apart the layers of the board. This can be easy or hard depending on the board. Sometimes I have to use a knife and just make layers. The point is to open up the fibers so that when we add paste it isn’t just a layer of paste on top of the board, rather it becomes part of the board.Be careful not to remove any of the board.

It is very important to cut into the board further than the line where it starts to be weak. if you can bend the corner about an inch then cut into the board an inch and a quarter to make a connection between the week and strong part.

Apply the paste between the layers with the brush or using the micro-spatula. Press the board layers back together but don’t press the covering material back together yet. The bone-folder can be helpful here. Remove excess paste. It is handy to have a damp rag around to help clean your fingers or at least a paper towel.

Put wax paper scraps between the covering material and the board that has been pressed and shaped back together. Also wrap wax paper around the outside of the corner so it doesn’t stick to the pressing boards. Use the pressing boards and the bulldog clip to further press the corner. Wait until it is dry.

When it is dry apply paste to the inside of the covering material flaps and press. Remove excess paste. If the material is really fragile like dry leather or thin paper it might be better to use a more dry archival glue to re-attach the flaps.

Now you area ready to apply the Japanese tissue that is colored to match your book. Remember to always color before gluing. In the case of this book the tissue matches the book with no additional coloring needed. Acceptable methods of coloring are archival pens or color pencils or even acrylic paints.

Tear a piece of the tissue so that it will just fit along the edge of the corner and cover any missing pieces of the covering material. A torn edge will look more natural than a cut edge.

Rub the tissue down through wax paper to prevent it moving around. Mold it into shape. In the video I am using a Teflon folder which doesn’t catch on things and won’t burnish. The bone folder works just fine too. A little paste on the outside of the tissue will help keep it sealed. I recommend a coat of SC6000 (a kind of wax) to seal it even better and make it shine a bit.

Good luck! As always, practice on a book you can replace and then have fun!

Book Repair Method: Erase Ink Library Stamp

Blog supplement for the YouTube video:

 

Book Repair DIY Corner Repair

Erasing an Ink Library Stamp can sometimes be really easy as this video demonstrates. Use a Staedtler Mars eraser. If you choose an eraser that “erases” ink you may scratch the color of the paper off. Ink erasers just have grit in them so they act like sandpaper. I prefer to use a regular eraser and then if I need extra effort I can use my repair knife and/or some sandpaper. There is a video if you want to see that method.

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The next blog will go into the knife-work.

The brush I use to get rid of the crumbs is an anti-static brush that keeps the particles from sticking to it. Fancy, right?

Basic Book Repair Kit Introduction

This kit is the same kit I bring with me when travelling. The tools and materials make it easy to do many simple repairs. Sometimes I need a few additional tools and many of these are listed in the video on common household items.  I am not going to list everything the kit can do here. Suffice it to say that the repairs are easy, archival, reversible and useful. That being said, please note that mistakes do happen, some things are not reversible and easy is a relative term. Fortunately, I know how to fix a lot of mistakes and will be posting blogs and videos about that as well. In order to minimize the number and extent of mistakes I recommend the following. Try out repairs on books of little value before working on something you care about. Test repairs on materials in areas that are inconspicuous on the book. Less is more! This just means don’t glop on the paste and don’t scrape or cut with abandon. Patience and attention to detail will get you great results. This stuff isn’t hard to do.  It is the same stuff you did in kindergarten; cut, paste, tear, color in the lines. Have fun! If you do need extra help you can do a Skype session with me. E-mail me for more information: Sophia@bookrestoration.org