Care and Feeding of Yer Books
April 26, 2012 7:47 AM Subscribe
Simple Techniques for the Repair and Maintenance of Books.
posted by storybored (12 comments total)
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Or listen to a professional: To begin with, if you remember nothing else, remember this: A book is a machine. For all the magic, mystique and awe that may surround it, the bound book is a machine. And like all machines, it will obey the laws of physics that have been built into it, whether or not they were what the binder intended. If a book was bound, rebound or repaired without regard to how all the parts work together to make the machine work, the laws of physics will relentlessly tear it apart, even while it is sitting quietly on a shelf. If a binding structure was made aesthetically pleasing, but too weak to support the textblock, gravity will do its job. If a hinge is not properly made, or repaired, it will not be a hinge and do what hinges do, which is to open and close the book. It will instead be a lever, and it will do what levers do, which is to pry apart the book.
That's an excerpt from one
of Robert Colver's articles on book repair.
The Bitter Truth about acid.
Bringing Life to Tired Tomes
which includes secret techniques to remove library number labels from those books you bought at their used book sale.
Common Antiquarian Ailments.
Tying Up Loose Ends
wherein Colver describes a situation where all is lost:
A few years back, I alerted a local dealer to keep his eye peeled for the Limited Editions Club Gulliver. I wanted a copy, with its folio Brobdingnag and its l6mo Lilliput. He called me a few months later and said, "I've got one, but you don't want it." When I asked why, he said: "Come look at it. You'll see."
I went. I looked at it. I saw. He was right. It was a beautiful copy. But the previous owner had written, clear across the pastedown and free fly of Brobdingnag: "Property of Mrs. X Y Z." With her complete address. And her phone number. Including area code. In inch-high letters. In bright crimson crayon. If there is an eighth circle of Hell...