Damaged Book Hinges

Recasing – Two Damaged Hinges

Damaged Book HingesWhen 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 remove all the spine lining paper but do remove the paper that comes off easily.
  • Check the sewing threads. If any are broken and need repair, fix them first.
  • Check the signatures. If any are damaged and need repair, fix them.

In strict conservation repair, the spine should be lined with Japanese repair tissue before a text block is recased. Since this layer is applied with wheat paste, it is reversible in water and acts as a liner for the other layers of spine materials. The spines of books that are considered valuable should be lined with Japanese repair tissue. Otherwise, proceed to attaching the crash.

Japanese Tissue Lining: Cut a piece of Japanese repair tissue the height and width of the text block spine, with the grain running parallel to the spine of the text block. Apply paste to the tissue in a starburst pattern and attach it to the text block spine. Use a folder or 1” stencil brush to tap the tissue onto the spine. Let dry thoroughly before proceeding.


  • Cut a new piece of crash l/2” shorter than the height of the text block and about 4” wider than the spine of the text block.
  • Lay the text block on the edge of the work table and add weight. The entire spine should be accessible.
  • Apply PVA or PVA/paste mixture to the spine area. Center the crash on the glued spine, and work it down with a folder or a 1” stencil brush.
  • Let the crash dry on the text block spine.
  • Line the spine. The number and type of spine liners depends on the size of the book. 
  • When the pastedown is still attached to the board, use Method 1 (separate post) for recasing the book.
  • If the original pastedown has been lifted off the cover boards or if the endsheets have been replaced, use Method 2 (separate post) to attach the text block into the case.
  • If the original pastedown is being reused, gently slide a dull knife or a folder under the spine edge of each pastedown to carefully lift the pastedown away from the board.
  • Work the knife or folder under the original crash to support the paper.
  • Lift only enough pastedown to slip in the new crash. Place the text block into the case.

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