Drying Book Repair Work

Book Repair GlueMost repairs involve moisture of some kind, be it paste or glue. When moisture is introduced into paper, board or cloth, special precautions need to be taken. A wet repair should be isolated from other pages in a book or it can adhere itself to adjacent pages and the book will not open correctly. Repair to the cover of a book must also be protected until dry.

The simplest way to isolate and protect a paper repair is with a moisture barrier, such as wax paper, Mylar or a combination of a non-stick, porous material with blotting paper. Since moisture cannot pass through a barrier such as wax paper the repair can take longer to dry.

Non-stick, porous material, such as Hollytex (purchased from book repair supply sources) and Pellon, a woven polyester material (available from fabric stores) can also be used to protect a repair. Both these materials allow moisture to pass through so repairs dry faster, but keep in mind the moisture has to go somewhere. When using porous materials, be sure to use blotting paper to absorb the moisture so it does not travel to the pages of the book.
Blotting paper is a thick unsized paper made from rag or cotton. Because it does not contain size (the additive to paper that makes it moisture resistant), it can absorb moisture easily. When blotters are used to absorb moisture in a book repair, they should be replaced with dry blotters periodically so the moisture of the blotter will not remain in the book.

Repairs must always dry on a smooth surface under weight so that they do not buckle and curl. l/4” glass with ground edges or pieces of plywood covered with Formica can be used to create a smooth surface anywhere.
Glass or plywood can be stacked so that several repairs take up very little space. Paper wrapped bricks or jars filled with coins can be used on top of the glass for weight.