Too nice to lose


Kids books just don’t survive well. Consider book below: A beautiful book (in the I Spy or Where’s Waldo variety) approximately 10-1/4 inches square with a shiny hard surface cover. Both endsheets are full paste down and fly leaf continuous page, internal hinges, front and back in tact.

In addition to the the respective fly leaf pages there are only 14 full color pages. The book has broken apart one page after the front fly leaf. The next four pages are somewhat held together with threads. Next is a completely loose page that seems to be the first page of a signature containing four pages on each side of the sewn center. Then one additional page and the fly leaf.

After the loose initial page of the larger signature, pages in signature are quite tight. Through the book, right/left pairing of pages is a full picture. So those pages that are loose or coming loose need repair in a fashion that maintains the picture continuity.

Because of the break toward the front of text block, a cover spine liner of cardboard is visible and in good shape. There is NO liner of the text block spine with mull, cloth, tissue which extends under the paste downs. It would appear that the book was originally held together by two different sized signatures and some …glue, maybe? Looking at the back of the text block, there appears to be a liner of very thin cardboard over the latter portion of the text block; so 7 of 8 page signature, one additional page and the flyleaf. As an aside, the single page after the front flyleaf and the single page immediately before the rear flyleaf appear to be fastened quite securely, probably even glued there.

A bit unsure how to proceed to maintain the continuity of the pictures. There appears to be an opportunity to reconstruct the main 8 page signature, as well as the four page signature, using heat set material that will be transparent. Then carefully glue the two signatures together. Then a text block spine liner (mull seems a bit much, but maybe sekishu?) with enough to lift the pastedown a bit front and back ,to slip it in. However, this does leave a “separation” between the “text block” and the front flyleaf/single page as well as the same at the rear. If it is tucked in tight enough, another application of glue/paste with overnight pressure might do the trick. Thank you for your thoughts.

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    Posted by (Questions: 33, Answers: 21)
    Asked on January 12, 2022 7:46 pm
    Private answer

    You are on the right track. For a thorough restoration you will have to deconstruct the book so you can repair the illustrations and then re-sew the book and re-case it. For many, this will be more work than is worth it and then using thin tissue (like tape) will be the answer. As for liners, the important thing is to have a strong hinge. Mull should be fine.

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    Posted by (Questions: 0, Answers: 189)
    Answered on January 17, 2022 6:32 am