Book Repair for Hardcover Books

Instructions on how to repair hardcover books

Damaged Book Hinges

Recasing a Hardcover Book – Method 1

METHOD 1: Pastedown Still Attached To The Board Before casing-in the text block, make sure the spine is right side up to the text block.   Slide the loose edge of the crash under the lifted pastedown. Trim the crash if it does not fit and trim the corners diagonally. When the loose edge of crash fits well, remove it. Apply glue to the book board, working glue all the way down into the area where the pastedown and the book board are connected. Do…

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Damaged Book Hinges

Recasing – Two Damaged Hinges

When both hinges are damaged or broken, the crash must be replaced before the text block is reattached to the case. Cut or tear through any of the crash that is still attached in the hinge area. If the endpapers need to be replaced or repaired, do those repairs first. Clean the spine. Remove the old crash and any paper liners that come off easily. If the book is sewn, take-care not to damage the sewing threads. Remember, it is not essential to…

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book hinge repair

Recasing – One Damaged Hinge

Examine both hinges very carefully to be sure only one hinge needs repair. If more than l/4 if the crash on either hinge is damaged, that hinge must be replaced. Recasing the text block – two damaged hinges is the next post in this series. Cut through any crash that is still intact in the damaged hinge area so the cover falls away from the text block. Check the original spine liners. It they are not glued down, carefully feed PVA or PVA/mixture between the spine…

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books2

Recasing a Hard Cover Book

In the next few posts I will talk about recasing a text block into the cover of a book. The hinge is the weakest part of a case bound book. As explained in an earlier post on how books are put together, the text block is constructed in one operation while the case is constructed in another operation. The spine of the text block is covered with crash, and the crash is attached to the book board. The crash is covered by the…

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rebacking a book

Rebacking Method 2 – Mounting the Original Spine onto the New Book Cloth Spine

Peel as much of the original paper spine inlay from the original spine cloth as possible. If the paper is well adhered to the cloth, don’t force it off the spine cloth. Trim the frayed edges with a straight edge and X-acto knife, taking care not to remove any of the letters or design. Lay the original spine against the new book cloth spine to check for a proper fit. The original spine should not extend into the hinge area as it will add bulk that will inhibit the cover…

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rebacking a book

Rebacking Method 2 – Attaching The Second Side of the New Book Cloth Spine

Cover the spine inlay with wax paper and blotters. Apply weight and let dry. When the spine inlay is dry, gently wrap it around the text block with the new book cloth on top of the original book cloth. Use the long edge of a folder to work the cloth into the hinge area. Lift the original book cloth and lay the new spine cloth in place. If the new spine cloth is too wide to fit, trim it down. Lift up the new book cloth and…

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spines

Rebacking Method 2 – Measuring the Width of the Joint

After the glue has set, use one of the following methods to mark the width of the joint. This gives the position of the spine inlay on the new spine cloth.     Method 1: Lay the book on the work surface with the new spine cloth against the table, wrong side up. Slip a rod into the joint against the table, press down gently on the joint area. Mark the position where the shoulder of the text block spine meets the new book cloth. Repeat this…

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rebacking a book

Rebacking Method 2 – Choosing and Attaching One Side of the New Book Cloth Spine

Choose a piece of book cloth that is a close color match to the original book cloth. If a close color match isn’t possible, select a color that has the least amount of contrast, i.e., black book cloth on a dark blue book would be less noticeable than light blue book cloth. Transfer measurements A and B to the book cloth. Be sure the grain of the book cloth is parallel to the spine of the book. Cut the new spine piece. Turn back the original book…

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spines

Rebacking Method 2 – Reinforcing the Spine

The spine area of the new spine cloth should be reinforced with an acid-free paper, or several layers of acid-free bond paper. The spine inlay should be the same width as the text block spine and the height of the book boards, not the text block. It is a common mistake to cut the spine inlay the same height as the text block, which is shorter than the book boards. Cut a spine inlay the width of the text block spine (original measurement A) and…

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spines

Rebacking Method 2 – Lifting and Trimming the Original Book Cloth

Gently lift the book cloth away from the board by sliding a folder or dull knife under the book cloth on the outer cover.  Lift the book cloth only as far as the cut at the top of the endpaper will allow, lifting a thin layer of book board with the cloth if necessary.   Try not to crease the book cloth as it is lifted or the crease line will show when the cloth is glued back in position. Insert a piece of thin cardboard between…

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