Reconstructing a signature


Ongoing Return of Tarzan (1915). Previous questions have addressed “Repairing abused pages” (about 3 months ago) and “How to attach a signature” (about a week ago). But now the first signature has been cut from the text block and needs more than anticipated. This is waaay beyond previous skill level…but now’s the time to learn, I guess. Four inner most leaves are still stitched together. Three outer leaves are torn from stitching, with each leaf fragile but attached at fold. Of the above mentioned “abused pages” are two that clearly belong at END of this signature, but have NO corresponding “page” at the beginning of signature; apparently a blank page and probably the paste down/endsheet which I left in place as the spine and hinges were fragile and I reinforced with Sekishu. I have some blank 50lb/70gsm for new endsheet and blank at start of signature. To “rebuild” the signature I plan to:

  • reinforce first two loose outer leaves with one piece of Sekishu
  • attach the third loose leaf with one piece of Sekishu with first loose page at end and new blank on front
  • attach second loose page at end with blank (to be endsheet) on front, again with the Sekishu
  • sew through all, through new mull

Trying to avoid too much swell at spine so original case can be reattached. Diagram attached shows the pages as described. Thoughts, comments, criticisms??

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    Posted by (Questions: 37, Answers: 25)
    Asked on April 30, 2021 9:30 pm
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    Ok. This looks great in many ways but I have a question or two. First of all, you have to know that it is way more typical for signatures to be four folded pages and not eight. It seems more likely that the back five that you are adding Sekishu to are really part of other signatures. Many times the first pages of a book are part of a signature where the other pages were used as paste-downs and waste-sheets. If this is the case the other four pages starting at 17 would belong to another signature which would mean that those pages are potentially loose. If you really have an 8 page signature, you would do better to use the hinging tissue rather than Sekishu because it is thinner and won't add as much bulk. It does look like you have figured a way to keep the bulk down by doubling up though so that's good. Another really important question is how are you making your new hinges? Or are you adding new endsheets? If the blank and endsheet are a different weight paper as you say then it is odd to include them in recreating a signature. Ultimately none of this is seen! Unless it is important to do it historically accurately, just make it work!


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    Posted by (Questions: 1, Answers: 229)
    Answered on May 2, 2021 3:21 pm
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      Huh. First point: YES!! Page 25-26 does indeed belong to the second signature!! Just counted carefully and one of the “other” loose pages is the mate to 25-26 and the end of second signature. Yeah. Second point: The above noted pages that were described as “torn from stitching, with each leaf fragile but attached at fold” are indeed 17-18, 19-20, and 21-22 and are the “mates” of Title, Dedication, and TOC. So I'm pretty comfortable that the first signature is, from the stitching, eight pages each direction. This would make loose page 23-24 needing a mate in front, which I have labelled “Blank.” (Never found any other pages for the very front, as this came to me in pieces.) I suppose page 23-24 could have been paired with the paste down, but that seems a bit odd.


      I am now faced with two additional questions. First: I now realize that the second signature, which is stitched in place (but a bit loose from text block) has need of attaching a loose page at beginning that was origianlly attached (paired) to another looe page at the end....???? Second question involves those hinges you mentioned. Original idea involved TWO new pages at beginning which now I only see opportunity for what? At the end, once I add new mull, I could sew in a folded, new blank page to provide a new paste down/endsheet. Possible?? Thank you.


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      Posted by (Questions: 37, Answers: 25)
      Answered on May 2, 2021 7:49 pm