Among all our material possessions, we tend to subject our books to some of the heaviest use — particularly good cookbooks!
These bound recipe containers are subject to wear and tear due to frequent handling, and despite our best intentions, many other abuses. Even under the most ideal of circumstances our books often experience deterioration caused by the nature of the book themselves.
This occurrence; termed ‘inherent vice,’ describes inherent weaknesses in the chemical or physical structure of a volume caused by a number of factors ranging from the breakdown of lesser quality materials used in its construction, or weakening or structural failure due to stress placed on the binding.
Damages due to inherent vice may seem inevitable but if addressed early on we can avoid a whole lot of lost content & book hurt!
Take for example, Michelle’s charming copy of Edna Staebler’s Food That Really Schmecks - a paper covered volume that through normal use has simply worn out along its spine’s outer joints.
Before 1. Note the wear through the yellow paper covering material along the outer joint of spine to front cover.
Before 2. The progression of wear to the outer joint of spine to the back cover was a little more severe.
Left untreated this books condition would only worsen; the paper spine covering would eventually detach completely and the exposed spine invite a whole host of problems for the text block’s sewn binding.
So to prevent this situation from escalating the spine was lined with Japanese tissue paper using wheat starch paste and was fitted back into place. Then the outer joints were reinforced with long thin strips of JTP which were colored to match the book’s vibrant yellow covers.
After 1. Reinforced & ready for many more years of Mennonite country cooking!
After 2. A new outer joint of spine to the back cover.
After 3. A book repair that really schmecks :)
Recently this brown paper wrapped package made its way out of the Sapling \\ Seedling Bindery — and what was inside??
A custom bound wedding guestbook for a lovely couple looking for a simple handmade volume for their guests to inscribe their well wishes!
The bindery has been a very busy place the last few weeks with all the preparations required of 3 craft sales in 3 weeks [next up is Idle Hands: Spring into Summer Craft Sale this Saturday, June 9th from 10-5 p.m. at the Dom Polski Centre]
But amidst the prep a great deal of book repair has been accomplished as well. Most recently, a rather big treatment for a very little book!
This 256 page miniature leather bound ‘History of the Bible’ measures just 53 x 35 x 20 millimeters and was printed in 1820. It came to the Sapling \\ Seedling Bindery wrapped up in a facecloth inside a ziploc bag and like many antique books it has been its owners family for many years; belonging to the owners maternal great-grandmother.
The back cover had completely detached and the last two pages had torn away from the binding and had folded up on themselves. The inner joint between the front pastedown and title page was split exposing the binding cords and there were many edge tears, folds and creases throughout - not to mention the 192 years of accumulated dirt and debris along the gutter edges of leaves throughout the text block.
Before photograph - showing the detached back cover and pages
Before photograph - showing the broken outer joint of spine.
This treatment involved several different stages / repairs:
Firstly, dirt and debris was cleaned away from the surfaces and inner edges of pages with a soft brush, then the pages were unfolded and creases removed. Edges tears were repaired with Japanese tissue and wheat starch paste.
Then came the task of reattaching the back cover by lacing in to the stitching of the text block using binding thread.
Once the back cover was attached a new hinge (outer joint) was created between the back cover and spine using strips of Japanese tissue, and the inner joints of spine between the front and back covers were reinforced using the same method.
Before photograph - showing broken inner joint between front pastedown and title page.
After photograph - showing repaired inner joint and infilled loss on title page.
The finishing touch was to color match and in-paint the new outer joint between the back cover and the spine to match the bible’s leather covering.
After Photograph - showing reattached back cover and repaired outer joint of spine.
And in order to preserve this little gem in its currently stabilized condition for many more years to come, a custom enclosure was built out of archival board and the old ziploc bag was put to another use!
Custom phase box enclosure.
The miniature ‘History of the Bible’ in its new protective enclosure.
If you have a book in need of repair find contact info here.
Learn more about miniature books and ‘thumb’ bibles here.