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 the text block down.

The adhesive in the hinge area can dry up over time and become weak while
the spine and endpapers are still intact. When the glue dries up, the crash
separates from the book board and the hinge area becomes loose. Often the
end paper will split along the hinge and the crash will be visible underneath.
The common repair practice of applying plastic tape to the hinge area does
nothing to reattach the crash to the case board, it only adds a layer of tape in
the book.

The next post will details a simple repair method for damaged book hinges.