As you will see from the Resources page – I chose this book to include in my list of recommended items for when you are repairing your books.
Here is my review of the book (and, yes, it is a well used paperback and has been repaired!).
Basic Bookbinding by AW Lewis
1957 Dover Publications Inc.
Originally written and published in 1952, this republication has additional notes for American users. The book covers basic methods of binding in simple styles. The benefit of this is that you will better understand how a book is put together before you start on your repair work.
There are clear explanations and diagrams of the equipment used as well as a limited number of photographs of some step by step methods. Given that this book is almost 60 years old, the layout is appropriate for using from your first repair through to the time when you are an adept at getting your books looking their best for continued use.
At less than 140 pages it is a valuable resource and reference to have at your disposal when you are in the middle of a repair and the internet is down!
We often keep large maps and posters rolled up – usually to save space. When you want to look at these or use them it can be difficult to keep them flat. Here is a method that might help.
1. HUMIDIFYING MATERIALS
Humidifying is a process of carefully introducing moisture into paper and then drying it under controlled conditions.
A simple but effective humidifier can be constructed out of two plastic garbage cans. The materials in the humidifier will absorb moisture without ever coming in direct contact with the water.
- Place the materials to be flattened in a small garbage can.
- Pour about 3 – 4” of water into a large plastic garbage can and place the small plastic garbage can in the water. Hot water will work a little faster than cold. To increase the speed with which the materials absorb the moisture in the humidifier, moisten two pieces of blotter paper and clip them to each side of the small garbage can. Damp blotters act as a sponge, raising the moisture level inside the container so the paper absorbs the moisture faster.
Remember that the water should NEVER come in direct contact with the materials being flattened.
- Leave the smaller container uncovered and cover the large container with the lid or a tight fitting plastic bag. Humidifying can take from 1 – 24 hours.
2. FLATTENING MATERIALS
- When the materials feel damp and limp, they have absorbed enough water to be flattened.
- Place blotters beneath the material, unroll them with the curl towards the table.
- Cover with a layer of Mylar.
- Cover this “sandwich” with glass plates or pieces of board and let dry.
When the materials are not cool to the touch, they are completely dry.
A simple corrugated clam shell box can be constructed from a sheet of single wall acid-free corrugated board. These boxes are faster to construct and cheaper than the traditional clam shell box seen in many libraries.
The design for this corrugated box was developed by Andrea Krupp and Lillian Greenberg of the Library Company of Philadelphia and originally printed in The Abbey Newsletter, October 1991. Further refinements on the instructions are provided by the staff of the American Philosophical Society. Like a clam shell from which it derives its name, the corrugated box has a book tray constructed to fit the box and a cover tray that fits over the book tray.
Constructing a Measuring Jig
1. Cut 3 strips of the corrugated board about 12” long.
2. Trim 1 strip to 9” long and trim 1 strip to 6” long.
3. Glue all 3 strips together with one end even. The other ends will be stepped.
4. Mark the longest strip 1 BT (board thickness). Mark the middle strip 2 BT and the shortest strip 3 BT.
Measure the Book
5. Using a piece of paper, measure the book height (A), width (B) and thickness (C).
NOTE: Not all books are square. Be sure to measure the tallest, widest and thickest part of the book.
Transfer the Measurements and Rough Cut the Corrugated Board
NOTE: The corrugations of the board run parallel to the height of the book.
6. Square a piece of corrugated board on a paper cutter or using a carpenters’ square. Mark the square corner with an “X”.
7. Starting at the squared comer and working to the left, mark 2 widths (B), plus 3 thickness (C) plus about 2”.
8. Again starting at the squared corner and working upward, mark 1 height (A) plus 2 thickness (C) plus 2”.
9. Cut the board to size with a paper cutter or sharp utility knife.
Laying Out Cutting and Folding Lines
10. Starting at the bottom left hand corner, mark 1 thickness (C) plus 1 BT. This is the thickness of the cover tray wall.
11. Add the width of the book (B) plus 2 BT. This is the width of the cover tray base.
12. Add the thickness of the book (C) plus 2 BT. This is the thickness of the spine.
13. Add the width of the book (B) plus 1 BT. This is the width of the book tray base.
14. Add the thickness of the book (C) plus 1 BT to mark the thickness of the book tray wall.
15. Draw lines using a triangle or carpenters square. Trim off excess board.
16. Starting at the bottom left hand corner, mark the thickness of the book (C) plus 1 BT. This is the thickness of the cover tray wall.
17. Add the height of the book (B) plus 3 BT to mark the height of the cover tray base.
18. Add the thickness of the book (C) plus 1 BT. This is the thickness of the cover tray wall.
19. Draw lines using a triangle or carpenters square. Trim off excess board.
Decreasing Book Tray and Cutting Excess
The book tray must be smaller than the cover tray so the two trays will nest inside one another when the box is closed.
20. Use the BT measuring jig to move the upper and lower book tray walls inward by 1 BT.
21. Draw diagonal lines from the outer comers of the tray bases to the corners of the walls.
22. Cut away the shaded areas with a knife.
Note: Extend the cuts in the new shortened book tray base lines.
23. Round the comers of the cover tray top and bottom walls and cut a thumb notch on the cover tray fore edge wall. Use a gouge and mallet or scissors.
Folding and Creasing Box Lines
24. Using the rounded end of a folder, score all of the fold lines lightly.
25. Lay a ruler along the scored lines and fold the cardboard against the ruler. Use the
folder to sharpen the folds.
Cutting and Attaching the Tabs
The corrugated board is constructed of two outer layers surrounding a layer of corrugated core.
26. Using the pointed end of a folder, separate the two outer layer from the corrugated core.
27. Fold the outer layers back on the scored line. Use scissors to carefully cut away the corrugated core. Do not cut through the corrugated core.
Gluing the Corner Tabs to Construct the Box
28. Use PVA to glue the corner tabs in place. Push the inner tabs well down into the corner joints.
29. Use clips to hold the tabs in place while they dry.
30. Label the spine, place the book in the box and on your shelf.
A modified four-flap wrapper can be constructed and glued into a
binder to protect thin items or loose pages. This wrapper is similar to a four-flap wrapper (previous post), but it has a closing tab instead of the flap that tucks into the wrapper to hold the wrapper shut.
The Modified Four-Flap Wrapper can be cut from a single piece of cardstock but it will be less wasteful to cut two separate pieces and glue them together.
- Use a piece of paper to measure the height (A), width (B) and thickness (C) of the book or materials. Label each measurement.
- Cut a piece of folder stock the height of the book or papers (measurement A) and about 3 l/2 times the width of the text block (three covers and two spines). The grain of this piece of folder stock should run vertical to the cut stock and parallel to the book spine.
- Cut a piece of folder stock the width of the book or papers (measurement B) and about 3 l/2 times the height (three covers and two spines). The grain of this piece of folder stock should run horizontal to the stock and perpendicular to the book spine.
- Using the same techniques as given for the Four-Flap Wrapper, construct the two cover pieces and glue them together.
Since the flap does not slip under the cover as in the Four-Flap Wrapper, glue the two pieces completely together where they overlap.
The Modified Four Flap Wrapper can now be labeled and placed on your shelf or glued into a binder.
Wrappers and boxes are other ways to protect books on the shelf. In a general library collection, they might be used to protect Reference books that cannot be repaired or replaced. A modified four-flap wrapper (separate post) can be used to house fragile items or loose pages inside a binder.
The four-flap wrapper is constructed from two pieces of folder stock which can be obtained from book supply sources or specialist stationers.
- Use the technique of measuring with a piece of paper explained in an earlier post to measure the height (A), width (B) and thickness (C) of the book or papers.
- Label each measurement.
Cover Piece 1
- Cut a piece of folder stock the height of the cover material (measurement A) and about 3 times the width of the material (two covers, two spines and about 4” extra). The grain of this piece of folder stock should run parallel to the short side of the folder stock.
- Position Measurement C (thickness of the item) on the right edge of Cover Piece 1; then mark, score, and fold.
- Add Measurement B (the width of the material) to the fold; score and fold
- Add Measurement C to the fold; score and fold.
- Add Measurement B to the fold; score and fold.
- Add Measurement C plus 3 – 4” to the fold and cut
Proceed to to cut and score Cover Piece 2.
Cover Piece 2
- Cut a piece of folder stock the width of the material (measurement B) and about the equivalent of the measurement for the height of three covers and two spines.
- The grain of this piece of folder stock should run parallel to the short side of the strip.
- Center the Measurement A (the height of the book or papers) on Cover Piece 2; mark the height; score and fold.
- Add Measurement C to each fold; score and fold.
- Add Measurement A to each Measurement C.
- Trim Cover Piece 2 if necessary.
Attaching Cover Piece 1 and Cover Piece 2
- Place Cover Piece 1 inside Cover Piece 2.
- Place the book in position and fold the flaps from Cover Piece 2 over the book. Each flap does not need to cover the entire cover, as long as the two flaps together cover the entire cover.
- Trim the flaps shorter if necessary.
- Wrap Cover Piece 1 around the book.
- The four-flap wrapper should be a good fit without being too tight or too loose.
- Tuck the last flap (C plus 3 – 4”) between Cover Piece 1 and 2 at the right edge.
- Trim the tuck-in flap shorter if it resists tucking in.
- Trim the top and bottom edge of the tucked-in flap diagonally.
- Remove the book and separate the Cover Pieces.
- Apply PVA adhesive to the left quarter of the center A measurement on Cover Piece 2.
- Replace Cover Piece 1 and dry under weight.
When the glue is dry, put the book into the wrapper, fold over the flaps from Cover Piece 2, then wrap Cover Piece 1 around the book.
Label the spine with the title and author (space permitting).
Place on your shelf.
Replacing damaged or soiled plastic book jacket covers is a fast way to make books look new and inviting. The best kind of plastic book jacket cover to use is the type with two parts: a clear, plastic front and a white paper backing.
- Choose a size of plastic book jacket that is long enough to cover the entire length of the book jacket.
- Slide the book jacket in between the plastic front and the white paper backing.
- Turn the book jacket over and fold the clear plastic front over the white backing paper.
- Tape the plastic front to the backing paper. Do not put tape on the book jacket itself. Since the tape does not touch the book jacket, it cannot stain or discolor. The book jacket remains safe and clean.
When the plastic jacket is soiled or torn, simply replace it and the book jacket will look new again.
Warning! Some plastic book jackets do not have a paper backing. The plastic is taped directly to the paper book jacket. Unfortunately, the adhesive in the tape can migrate to the paper jacket and cause stains. In addition, the paper cover is often torn when the plastic cover is removed. All in all, it is best to avoid this type of plastic jacket.
Attaching Plastic Jackets to Bound Books
The most common way to attach plastic jackets to a book is to tape them down. Be careful about the type and amount of attaching tape used and where it is placed.
- Try to use a tape that is pH neutral and stable. Since the adhesives used in many plastic tapes are not stable, they can stain the cover cloth on a book or the adhesive can transfer to the cover of the book so that the cover remains sticky even after the tape is removed.
- Use as small a piece of tape as possible, and try to put the new tape in the same place each time it is replaced.
- When a plastic book cover is taped onto a book, pay special attention to the endpapers. If there is no special information on the endpapers, tape the turn-ins of the plastic jacket down to the book cover as in Method 1 below.
- If a map or chart is printed on the endpapers and the turn-ins of a plastic book cover are taped over it, someone will undoubtedly tear the tape or cover to have access to the image. To prevent this, attach the plastic book jacket to the book so that it opens to show the entire end sheet following the instruction in Method 2 below.
Taping Jacket Turn-in To The Cover Board
- Use a piece of tape approximately 1 l/2 – 2” long
- Attach one half of the tape on the turn-in area of the plastic cover. Try to place it so that no information is covered.
- Fold the tape over the book cover and press it in place. The tape can be attached to the outside of the plastic cover or to the front of the book cover.
- Tape each turn-in at the top and bottom.
- Use a piece of paper tape the height of the book and attach it to the very front edge of the book cover. Try to apply the tape so it covers as little of the end paper as possible.
- Carefully fold the tape back onto itself.
- Position the plastic cover on the book.
- Gently fold the turnin over so that it is in contact with the tape.
- Press the tape to the book jacket.
- Repeat for the other turn-in.
Sewing Multiple Signature Pamphlets Into Binders
A multiple-signature pamphlet that is side sewn or side stapled can be punched or drilled and sewn into a binder using the 3 or 5 hole pamphlet stitch above. Also, the staples can be removed and the signatures sewn individually.
Multiple signature pamphlets that are sewn through the fold may be attached to a pamphlet binder with a secondary sewing to retain the ability of the pamphlet to open flat.
Check the original sewing to make sure it is sound. If the sewing needs to be repaired or the signatures are loose, follow the directions for sewing with link stitch prior to attaching the pamphlet to the binder.
Attach the sewn multiple-signature pamphlet into a binder using either the three hole or five hole pamphlet stitch as outlined in previous posts. Sew and knot each sewn signature separately so the sewing threads will be tight.
- For a 2 signature pamphlet – punch and sew each signature to the binder.
- For a 3 – 4 signature pamphlet – punch and sew the 1st and 3rd signatures to the binder.
- For a 5 signature pamphlet – punch and sew the lst, 3rd and 5th signatures to the binder.
THE FIVE HOLE PAMPHLET STITCH
The instructions for the five hole pamphlet stitch use a one signature pamphlet. The same sewing pattern can be used for items published as individual sheets of folded paper.
Sewing multiple signature materials into pamphlet binders is discussed in a separate post. Detailed instructions for placing and punching sewing holes are given in previous posts.
Measure a length of thread that is two times the height of the book plus 4 – 6”. Preparing the thread and needle is discussed in an earlier post.
- Starting on the inside of the pamphlet, insert the needle in sewing station number 3 and pull the thread to the outside of the pamphlet, leaving a 2” tail inside the pamphlet.
- Proceed to sewing station number 2 on the outside of the pamphlet, and insert the needle into sewing station 2.
- Pull the thread to the inside of the pamphlet at sewing station 2.
- Be careful not to pull the tail out of the pamphlet at station 3.
- On the inside of the pamphlet, insert the needle at sewing station 1, and pull the thread to the outside. Be careful to pull the thread in the direction of sewing so it will not tear the paper.
- On the outside of the pamphlet, insert the needle in sewing station number 2, and pull the thread to the inside of the pamphlet.
- Go past sewing station 3 to sewing station 4 on the inside of the pamphlet. Insert the needle in sewing station 4, and . pull the thread to the outside of the pamphlet.
- Proceed to sewing station 5 on the outside of the pamphlet. Insert the needle into station 5, and pull the thread to the inside of the pamphlet.
- Gently tighten the thread by pulling the thread in the direction of sewing.
- On the inside of the pamphlet, insert the needle in sewing station number 4, and pull the thread to the outside of the pamphlet.
- Return to station 3 on the outside of the pamphlet, and insert the needle into sewing station 3.
Be careful not to pierce the thread already in sewing station number 3. The two loose ends of sewing thread should straddle the thread in the fold of the pamphlet.
If the sewing thread has been pierced, as the pamphlet is sewn, it will be difficult or impossible to tighten the threads before tying the knot.
- Tighten the sewing thread in the direction of sewing to remove any slack, and tie off the two loose ends with a square knot.
- Clip the threads to about l/2”.
THE THREE HOLE PAMPHLET STITCH
Choose the three hole stitch for fairly thin material that is less than 7” tall. A taller, heavier booklet should be sewn with the five-hole stitch. These instructions for the three hole pamphlet stitch using a one signature pamphlet. The same sewing pattern can be used for items published as individual sheets or side stapled.
Sewing multiple signature materials into pamphlet binders is discussed in a separate post. Instructions for placing and punching sewing holes can be found in previous posts.
Measure a length of thread that is two times the height of the book plus 4 – 6”. Choosing, waxing and locking thread onto a needle is discussed in the post on Preparing Thread for Book Repairs.
- Starting on the inside of the pamphlet, insert the needle into sewing station 2.
- Pull the thread to the outside of the pamphlet, leaving a 2” tail inside the pamphlet.
- On the outside of the pamphlet, insert the needle into station number 1.
- Pull the thread through sewing station 1, being careful not to pull the tail out of the pamphlet at station 2.
- On the inside of the pamphlet, proceed to sewing station number 3, going past sewing station number 2.
- Insert the needle into sewing station 3 and pull the thread to the outside of the pamphlet.
- Gently pull the thread snug being careful to pull in the direction of the sewing so as not to tear the paper.
- Return to station 2 on the outside of the pamphlet. Insert the needle into sewing station 2.
- The two ends of sewing thread should straddle the sewing thread that runs the height of the booklet.
Be careful not to pierce the thread already in sewing station number 2. If the center thread is pierced, it will be difficult or impossible to tighten the threads when the sewing is complete.
- Pulling in the direction of sewing, take up any slack in the sewing thread and tie off the two loose ends with a square knot.
- Clip the threads to about l/2”.
Punching Sewing Holes in Pamphlet Materials
Center Folded Materials
For items that are center folded, a punching jig and signature cradle can be used. If a sewing cradle is not being used or if the material is loose pages, binder or bulldog clips can be used to hold the punching jig in place when the holes are punched.
To punch the sewing stations in a booklet and a pamphlet binder at the same time, position the booklet inside the binder and hold both in place with binder or bulldog clips.
Side-Stapled or Individual Sheets of Paper
NOTE: Pamphlet materials can be constructed of folded signatures, then side-stapled through the folds. It can be advantageous to remove the staples and sew the signatures together using the link stitch so they will open completely flat.
To punch sewing holes in individual sheets of paper or side-stapled materials, position the booklet in the binder and hold it in place with binder or bulldog clips.
Using a needle-in-a-stick or awl, punch the holes as close to the spine edge as possible making sure there is enough margin to hold the booklet securely in the pamphlet binder.
If the needle or awl will not punch the materials easily, try twisting while pressing down. Too much pressure can bend or break the tool.
When punching by hand, it can be convenient to punch into a piece of 1” styrofoam, available in most craft stores.
If the material is too thick to punch by hand, drilling is a possibility.
Remember to protect the work surface with a sheet of wood when drilling. When drilling materials, use a small drill bit, about the same size as the sewing needle. Small drill bits are available in hardware, hobby or jewelry supply stores. The drill chuck jaws of a standard drill may not hold small drill bits. Check the jaws of the drill chuck to see if all three jaws meet when it is completely closed. If they do not, the drill will not hold the smaller drill bits.
The Dremel Company markets a tool with a very small drill chuck to hold small drill bits. There are several models including one speed and multi-speed, drill chuck jaws that close tight or close loose. One model, a single speed drill, can be attached to a variable speed foot control (similar to a sewing machine foot control) so the operation and speed of the drill is regulated by the foot control and both hands are free to maneuver the tool. Dremel also sells a drill press which holds the drill in place.