Thursday, February 2, 2017

Book Repair - You Don’t Know What You Didn’t Know

On January 30, 2017 HVLA hosted a Book Repair Workshop at Williamsburg Northside School with Sophia Kramer, a bookbinder and book conservator from White Iris Books. Currently Sophia is working as a book conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is focusing on rare herbalist books (think 1425!)

As school librarians, we regularly encounter books that have been damaged: from damaged spines, to tears, to dog chewed corners, etc. Usually we attempt to repair them with book tape, a hot glue gun, and rubber bands. Apparently everything we thought we knew about book repair was WRONG. Luckily, Sophia showed us the way and blew our collective minds. There’s something about putting together a feathered tear with PVA that makes you feel really cool (or maybe that’s just us?). Regardless, picture a dozen librarians giggling in glee about about using a fan brush to paint polyvinyl acetate on a tipped in plate and you’ve got the basic idea.

Fun facts:

  • The interior of the spine is called the mull.
  • Foxing is an age-related process of deterioration that causes spots and browning.
  • A tipped-in page or, if it is an illustration, tipped-in plate is a page that is printed separately from the main text of the book, but attached to the book. If a tipped-in page falls out, one must apply glue to the page lightly and then tip it back into the book.
  • Different types of binding require different repair methods.
  • Deckled edges are the feathery, unfinished pages

Places to purchase book repair supplies:
Talas (located in Brooklyn)

Places to purchase archival products:

Book Repair Supply List for a Librarian on a Budget
  • Knitting needles
  • Filmoplast (available in different weights)
  • Paintbrush (1 inch flat brush and fan brush)
  • Ruler
  • Olfa utility knife
  • Bone folder
  • PVA glue
  • Instant wheat starch paste
  • Scissors (any kind will do)
  • Rubber cement pick-up (used to remove sticky adhesive)
  • Ace bandage

  • Remay (spun plaster!)
  • Japanese paper
  • Book cloth
  • Water pen
  • Paper Saw! (yes, we said paper saw.)
  • Heat spatula (someone please get me this for my birthday)
  • Wooden dowels
  • Blue Paper
  • Self healing mat
  • Cord (thick thread)

To learn more about classes book repair and book arts, look to The Center For Book Arts.

Also check out Esther K. Smith and Dikko Faust’s Purgatory Pie Press for more classes and books about books (Karen recommends Esther’s Making Books With Kids).

For online information: Check out this video or this guide to learn more about book repair.

-Karen Grenke, Williamsburg Northside School and Maria Falgoust, International School of Brooklyn

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