rebacking a book

Now that you have removed the original spine, we continue with Method 1 for rebacking a hardcover book.

  • Lining the Text Block Spine
  1. When the book cloth spine is removed, examine the paper spine liner attached to the text block. This paper spine liner consolidates the signatures of the text block and helps evenly distribute the stress of opening the book. Many modern book manufacturers do use enough paper liners or a good quality of paper to line the spine. In many instances, the paper spine liner is not even completely glued down. Taking the time to replace the spine liner ensures the book will function better and last longer.
  2. Open the text block to the center of the book and see how the spine arches. Does it form a gentle curve or a sharp “V”? When a book opens with a sharp “V”, all the stress of opening the book is concentrated in one place. A gentle curve evens out the stress of opening the book.
  3. If the original paper liner is not adhered to the spine of the text block, remove it by gently pulling it away or scraping it away with a dull knife. Be careful not to damage the crash or the sewing threads. It is not essential that all the paper be removed.
  4. If the original paper spine liner is well adhered but not heavy enough to form a gentle curve when the book opens, add additional paper liners to create the gentle curve.
  5. Measure the thickness of the text block from shoulder to shoulder with a strip of paper. Save this measurement until the repair is completed.
  6. Transfer the measurement to the spine liner paper and cut a strip of spine liner paper. The cut strip should be longer than the height of the book boards. Remember the grain of the spine liner should run up and down the spine of the book.
  7. It is best to use a medium weight paper to line the text block spine; two or three layers of thin paper is better than one thick layer. Acid-free papers or Japanese repair tissue can be used. The paper spine liner must have the grain running from the head to the tail of the book and should be the exact height and width of the text block spine.
  8. Lay the spine liner against the spine of the text block, mark the height and then trim the spine liner to the exact height of the text block.
  9. Apply adhesive to the spine liner paper in a star burst pattern and position on the text block spine.
  10. Firmly attach the paper spine liner to the text block spine using one or both of the methods below.

1. Use a folder to rub the paper spine liner to the text block spine. Make sure the paper liner is well adhered to the text block; pay special attention that the edges (sides, head and tail) are firmly attached.
OR
2. A 1” stencil brush makes a good tool to firmly attach the spine liner to the text block. Use an up and down tapping motion to work the spine liner into the text block. Pay special attention that the edges (sides, head and tail) are firmly attached.

Let the paper liner dry then open the book. If the open text block forms a “V” instead of a gentle curve, repeat the procedure. Many books need more than one layer of paper liner, especially if they are large or heavy