Book Repair for Hardcover Books

Instructions on how to repair hardcover books

book corners

Book Corner Repairs

The corners of a book take a great deal of stress and can be damaged while the rest of the case is still in good condition. This is another repair that is often handled with plastic tape or purchased “repair wings.” Applying tape or wings does not repair the corner; instead it adds a layer of tape on top of the problem. The adhesive on the tape can seep out or dry up over time, causing the plastic carrier to fall…

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Repairing Book Hinges

Repairing Damaged Book Hinges

A variation of the previously explained repair technique for book hinges can be used when an endpaper is split at the hinge. Check the crash carefully. If more than l/4 of the crash is torn, it should be replaced (discussed in a separate post). Use a small paint brush or microspatula to apply glue to the split end papers and work them into position. Put a piece of wax paper or non-stick material in the hinge area to protect the paper from any excess…

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Cleaning Books

Cleaning Books

Other Types of Cleaning Dry cleaning (as covered in a previous post) will only remove surface dirt. More advanced cleaning techniques include taking the book apart and washing each page. As you can imagine, that is a time consuming and costly process. I do not recommend you try this without some professional guidance on hand. For that reason I will not be covering the technique on this site. There are, however, many libraries and colleges that run single day workshops for you…

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Repairing Book Hinges

Tightening and Repairing Loose Book Hinges

The previous post talked briefly about how most hardcover books are constructed so that you know which part actually needs repair when the book hinges are loose. When the hinge area is loose and the endpaper is not torn, use a wooden stick such as a bamboo skewer or thin knitting needle coated with PVA to feed a small amount of PVA into the joint area. Carefully insert the PVA-coated knitting needle or skewer into the hinge area at the top of the book, rotating…

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Repairing Book Hinges

Repairing Book Hinges

Case binding is a general term for the process of constructing a hard cover book in two parts: the text block and the case or cover. The major point of attachment between the text block and the cover is the crash cloth that covers the spine of the text block and is glued to the cover boards. The text block is usually attached to the case so that it sits approximately l/8 – 3/16 above a bookshelf. This means that gravity is constantly pulling…

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Cleaning Books

Cleaning Pages of a Book

When attempting to clean paper, always start with the least abrasive cleaning method before trying others. Keep in mind that cleaning can be a time consuming task. Evaluate each book before attempting to dry clean it. Make sure that cleaning a particular volume is a good use of time. Dry cleaning is any kind of cleaning that does not use water or liquid cleaners. Done correctly, dry cleaning will not damage your book. Some dirt can be swept off the page using a soft,…

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Parts-of-a-Book

How To Measure a Book

Measuring books accurately can be a challenge since books are not always square or flat. It’s standard practice in book repair to take most repair measurements with a piece of scratch paper rather than a ruler. Measuring the Height of a Book Lay the scratch paper in position and mark one or both ends of the measurement. Add direction arrows to indicate where the measurement starts and stops. Measuring the Spine Width The spine can be measured in two ways…

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Japanese repair tissue

Tearing Japanese Repair Tissue

Japanese repair tissue is usually torn so that the edges are feathered, not cut sharp as they would be with a knife or scissors. The feathered edge allows the repair tissue to “blend” onto the text paper. Repair tissue can be torn with a water tear or needle tear. A needle tear gives a slightly less feathered edge than a water tear. To water tear a piece of Japanese repair tissue, use a small, pointed natural bristle paint brush to…

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Weavers Knot

Tying knots

There are two basic knots used in book repair – the weaver’s knot and the square knot. The Weaver’s Knot Since sewing with a very long piece of linen thread can be difficult, the weaver’s knot is used to tie on additional lengths of thread so shorter lengths can be used. Tie on additional thread when there is about 6” of thread left on the needle. Tie the knot inside the signature, as close to the last sewing station as…

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Binding Pamphlets

Preparing Thread for Book Repairs

WAXING LINEN THREAD Like all thread, linen thread has a tendency to tangle. Waxing sewing thread with beeswax keeps the thread from tangling and helps the thread “grip” the paper. Run the thread through a cake of beeswax two or three times to coat it with wax, then run the thread through your fingers. The heat generated from the friction will melt the wax into the thread. MEASURING THREAD LENGTH The length of thread needed depends on the height of…

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