Book Repair Basics

Basic background information you should read before you start repairing your books.

Binding Pamphlets

Binding Pamphlets and Booklets Part 1

Over the next few posts I will talk about methods of binding pamphlets, booklets or single pages of information into a solid covering. Pamphlets or booklets are unbound material l/2” or thinner in spine width. These materials can be individual sheets or single or multiple signatures and can be sewn or stapled into a pamphlet binder. The three or five hole pamphlet stitch is used to sew individual sheets or signatures into a pamphlet binder. Either sewing stitch works well on most center sewn…

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Spiral bound books

Reinforcing Spiral Bound Books

Spiral bindings can be reinforced for longer life. This technique was developed at the University of Michigan Library and uses a special product called Tyvek. Tyvek is strong, lightweight polyester “paper” that will not tear. Tyvek and PVA have a similar chemical makeup and bond very tightly. Tyvek can be purchased through library, art supply and camping/bushwalking sources. When using recycled Tyvek, glue the print side down. Photocopy any information on the inside of the front or back covers. Trim the photocopies and hinge (click here…

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Paperclip in book

How to Remove Paperclips

Staples and paper clips need to be removed when they are rusty, when pages are photocopied or sewn into a pamphlet binder, and when the fasteners are damaging the materials. Removing staples and paper clips without damaging the paper can be fast and easy when the right tools are used. REMOVING PAPER CLIPS Paper clips are not always the best item to attach a group of pages  to one another. They can rust or bend when left in place for long periods of time. When…

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Removing staples

How to Remove Staples

Staples and paper clips need to be removed when they are rusty, when pages are photocopied or sewn into a pamphlet binder, and when the fasteners are damaging the materials. Removing staples and paper clips without damaging the paper can be fast and easy when the right tools are used. REMOVING STAPLES The traditional double-jawed staple remover can be extremely damaging to paper materials. The staple remover grips the bridge of the staple and forcibly pulls the legs out of the paper. If the paper is thin or…

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paperback books

Using Bookshelves Correctly

Books often receive a lot of abuse before they even leave the bookshelf. They are yanked off the shelf by the top of the spine, forced back on the shelf between tightly packed books, and shelved on their fore edges when they are too tall. Often the bookends used  are not strong enough to support the weight of a shelf of books so the books lean at precarious angles. 1. REMOVING BOOKS FROM THE SHELF Books should not be removed from the shelf by…

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Designing Specific Book Repair Work

Often a damaged book does not easily fit into a single repair category. It might be bound in an unfamiliar style or be material that has never been bound. When designing a repair, consider all aspects of the item to be repaired, the individual characteristics of repair materials, and the strengths and weaknesses of a particular structure. Start by looking at how a book is constructed, why it needs repair and any previous repairs. Keep these questions in mind: How does the book function? Does…

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rebacking a book

Complex Book Repairs

ADVANCED REPAIRS Serious repair problems take more time and skill to accomplish than any other level of repair. Often, books that need advanced repairs were poorly repaired in the past.Here is the list of complex repair instructions I will cover in the next few posts.   Repairing the Spine Head or Tail Rebacking A Case Bound Book Recasing A Text Block Into the Cover Repairing and Reattaching Damaged or Separated Leaves, Folios or Signatures Endpaper Treatment and Repair Resewing A Damaged Text Block…

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damaged book corners

Replacing Missing Corners

It is not uncommon for a corner of a hard cover book to be damaged or destroyed while the rest of the case is in reasonably good condition. These corners can be replaced, and the instructions for simple repairs are covered in the post on Repairing Damaged Corners. . These instructions are for more advanced repair work. Cut through the book cloth along the top and side of the book board, cutting from the undamaged cloth toward the damaged corner. Make sure to cut far…

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loose pages

Replacing Missing Pages

When a page is damaged beyond repair or has been previously mended with clear plastic tape, it may have to be replaced to keep the book usable. If a page is missing entirely, the only option is to replace the page. Check to see if a library has a second copy of the damaged book to use to photocopy a replacement page. The photocopy paper will probably be larger than the book so the page(s) will need to be trimmed to fit the…

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plates

Hinging In Plates or Illustration Pages

Plates (illustration pages) can be attached to a text block in several ways. Some plates are printed on folded sheets that are sewn into the text block as part of a signature. Other plates are printed on shiny, stiff paper, then tipped onto the page with glue. As the original glue dries up, the plate can separate from the text and fall out of the book. Plates can be replaced by re-tipping them to the page or reattached by creating a Japanese tissue hinge…

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