The Deterioration of a Book

Deterioration of a Book

Sea Fishing on the English Coast
by Frederick G. Aflalo
Hardback with laminate cover, no dust jacket, perfect bound without sewn sections.

The Deterioration of a Book

As a book conservator, I repair books on a daily basis, all in varying states of destruction and disrepair. As a resident of Worthing and the South Coast, I am witness to the destruction and disrepair caused by the sea and coastal weather to buildings and all kinds of objects.

However I have yet to see any evidence of a book being destroyed by the sea and weather. This is what I hope to observe over the course of the year ahead, and record here as part of an ongoing installation with ‘Art on the Pier‘.

The book itself is installed at Coast Cafe, near The Book Hut, and new and updated images will be put onto my website on a monthly basis.

A record of the deterioration

 

Treasure Island | Starting a Fine Binding

Treasure Island Starting a Fine Binding

June 2016 will see the return of the Worthing Artists Open Houses to our seaside town. As a craftsperson, I have previously enjoyed the increased members of the public coming to say hello at The Book Hut, but never directly taken part. This year, however,  I will be much more involved, with two projects on display and a workshop at the Worthing Library, it’s all go at this end. The first, and key project, is that which is introduced here – Treasure Island – a fine binding of my own creating, that will be on display at StudioFreer in June. It is the first fine binding I have made for approximately four years, and the very first which will be available to buy.

Treasure Island | Starting a Fine Binding

The following initial stages were madeto the binding to prepare the text block for sewing:

  • Initially the cover was removed from the binding and kept for future use in the design process.
  • The textblock was then placed in the press and the spine lining and adhesive (animal glue) was removed manually with a spatular, having been previously softened with a wheat starch paste poultice.
  • The sections were then cleaned individually and put in the press for flattening.
  • The outer folio of each section was then guarded at the spine with a 12gsm tengujo tissue to reinforce them, and placed back in the press.
  • It is now ready to go onto the sewing frame.

In addition to the preparation of the sections, the leather has now been delivered for the later stages of the binding – a nice lime green goatskin.

Treasure Island the leather
Green goatskin ready for later stages of the binding


This book will be on display at StudioFreer 18th/19th June, 25th/26th June, 2nd/3rd July. It will be on sale at this time. If it is something you would be interested in purchasing, please do get in touch.

A Book of Puddings

Book of Puddings

A Book of Puddings | an unpublished scrapbook
by Kathleen A Christmas
c.1892
Hollow back, fully bound in green sheep skiver, embossed with a straight grain.
185x228x30 (WHD)

CONDITION

BINDING The volume in was in several pieces, with both boards detached and deteriorated at the edges. The corners were worn and fragile, particularly at the front board bottom foredge. The spine cover was not present and the spine lining was loose, as was the back board cover.

TEXT BLOCK Many of the folios were damaged and split at the spine. There was substantial staining throughout the book from food debris and ink, but no ink corrosion was apparent. The paper had survived well apart from the spine, with minor repairs along the edges.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Many additional newspaper cuttings were stored throughout binding, which may have been the cause of the spine splitting. Page 55 also had evidence of previous repairs, possibly contemporary with the binding, which were to be kept in place.

TREATMENT

TEXTBLOCK

  • Cleaned using a chemical sponge.
  • Additional material was paginated.
  • Previous repairs were removed for sewing and re-adhered in the same location.
  • Folios were guarded using Tengujo 11gsm to reduce bulk, and Kozo Shi 23gsm, where stronger repairs were necessary.
  • Where folios were completely split, kozo shi 23gsm was used on the outside to produce structure and Tengujo 11gsm used on the inside to add support.
  • Pages that were deliberately cut by the owner and were too short for resewing, were extended using kozo shi 23gsm.
  • Fragile edges were consolidated with MC 5%.
  • Text block was resewn with linen thread onto three linen sewing stations.
  • Three pages were too wide for the book, these were pulled back and adhered to the spine with japanese tissue to prevent protrusion.
  • Deacidification of newsprint articles with Bookkeeper.
  • Digital records of all inserted material stored on compact disc.

SPINE

  • Sewing was removed.
  • Adhesive removed from adhered sections – animal glue, removed with hot water and cellulose powder.
  • Spine lined with two layers of Kozo Shi, leaving wide overhangs to attach boards.
  • Spine then lined with Griffen Mill 80gsm Falcon Laid and sanded to remove sewing station swell.

BINDING

  • Leather was lifted around the board edges in preparation of the board reattachment and edge repair.
  • Leather was consolidated using Cellugel.
  • Corners were built up using Manila pulp and wheat starch paste, and then covered in a toned Japanese tissue
  • Boards were attached using linen sewing stations, which were frayed for better adhesion, along with the extended spine lining.
  • Goatskin, was paired and toned with selaset dyes, then lined with fraynot for added strength.
  • Compensation strips in leather, were adhered to the board edges adjacent to the spine.
  • The volume was then rebacked with the new goatskin spine and the loose leather was re-adhered around new spine piece and corners.
  • Creation of four flap folder, with inbuilt manilla textblock to hold inserted material.
  • Creation of a clamshell box for final enclosure.

David Barber’s Sketchbook

David Barber's Sketchbook

David Barber’s Sketchbook
c.2014
Flexible binding in full tan goatskin. Sewn landscape onto five cords and trimmed, with endbands in beige and green silk.
Paper was alternated between Surrey Cartridge and Windsor & Newton Sketching & Drawing Paper.
276×207 (WH), 15 sections, 3 bifolios per sections

David Barber’s Sketchbook was designed with specific requirements from the artist. The layout was landscape to allow the artist to draw across the double page spread, it was also imperative that the binding opened well when completed giving access to the gutter of the book. The texblock was created from two different types of paper alternating between each section, one more appropriate for watercolour, the other for drawing in ink.

The text block was sewn onto five cords, which were then laced into the boards. The boards are lined to allow for the pull of the leather on the front and the leather left plain for the artist to decorate. The endpapers were made from the Surrey Cartridge paper, again, designed for use from the artist.

For more examples of fine bindings and newly bound volumes, have a look at bookbinding. For more information on the Artist, have a look at his interview on Worthing Art.

David Barber's Sketchbook
The first drawing by David Barber
David Barber with his sketchbook
David Barber with his sketchbook

The Holy Bible

IMG_1066 feature

The Holy Bible
c. 1952
Full case binding, hollow-back, plain burgundy book cloth with blind-tooled border
University Press, Cambridge (Brooke Crutchley, University Printer)

140x198x39 (WHD)

I completed this volume some months back for an lady who was keen to preserve the book before it fell apart completely. As with so many books owned by individuals, the monetary value of this book was minimal, but the sentimental value was priceless. It is a classic Holy Bible, given to the owner as a child by her Grandmother, and has been loved and treasured ever since. As is often the case with books of such high sentimental value, the volume had deteriorated from such regular use. I greatly enjoy working on these types of books, despite their lack of social status in the book world, as there is little thanks in the conservation world that will match that given by someone whose treasured book has been carefully conserved and given new life for years to come.

CONDITION

BINDING Both boards were attached to the case and the spine was in tact. The shoulders at head and tail were worn, as was the tail at the spine edge. All the corners had minor ware, more so at the head. The case was detached from the textblock at front and at back after the end papers and map. The mull was exposed, worn down and deteriorating, though the tapes were still in tact.

TEXTBLOCK Page 543 was loose. Front end papers, first plate and title page were loose and attached by tape. The front endpaper was heavily damage both by detachment and from tape damage, corner is missing and replaced by tape. The following page also had a missing corner replaced with tape that was discoloured and stained. The title page was detached and stuck together with tape, which discoloured and stained the page. The first page of text was stained by offset tape residue from the title page. The final map and adjacent pages had tape residue damage, both discolouration and staining. They were also slightly detached from textblock, though remained attached to the boards. The tape damage, in all cases, was covering tears to the paper.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION A green paper cover had been adhered together using tape, which was discoloured and stained. The head and tail spine edges of this cover were also worn and damaged.

TREATMENT

  • Boards were removed, whilst keeping sewing tapes intact.
  • Front and back paste-downs were removed.
  • Paper repairs were made to loose pages, including infills to those with missing areas and reattachment where necessary by tipping.
  • Self adhesive tapes were removed and staining was reduced using a calcium hypochlorite bath, followed by washing to reduce the acidity.
  • The spine was re-lined and reinforced using an aero-cotton transverse lining.
  • The volume was then rebound using the original cover and the paste-downs were replaced using a sympathetic paper.
  • Hinges were inserted into the inside covers where necessary and the cover, spine and corners were consolidated.
  • Finally the paper cover was repaired and rehoused in melinex.

Penrhyn Archive Jamaican Estate Slave Accounts

Penrhyn Archive Jamaican Estate Slave Accounts

Penrhyn Archive Jamaican Estate Slave Accounts, Bangor University Archives
c.18th Century
Single section pamphlets of handmade paper, stab-sewn through a plain or marble-paper cover
Project for National Conservation Service
Report written by Mary Garner

DECONTAMINATION, CONSERVATION & DIGITISATION

The items treated in this project come from the Penrhyn Estate archive, deposited at the Bangor University Archives in North Wales. The project included a series of 32 paper account pamphlets from Jamaican estates. The accounts include names, roles and other details of slaves working on the estates and as such are of considerable significance historically and for their descendants researching their family histories. They are striking and disturbing documents, with slaves ‘accounted’ for as resources; for example death is referred to as a ‘decrease in slaves’ and birth as an ‘increase in slaves’.

The items have suffered from extensive water damage and damp, causing excessive mould growth, fading, weakness and discolouration. The project aim was to decontaminate and stabilise the collection and to digitise the account papers. The programme of digitisation was carried out after cleaning but prior to conservation treatments. This enabled capture of the documents in their found state and so that any repairs did not interfere with legibility of the text. Digitisation would also minimise unnecessary handling of items in the future, which while strengthened would remain vulnerable.

The main issues within this project were the presence of fugitive iron gall inks and mould damage. Iron gall ink is prone to fading and deterioration due to instability inherent in the ink composition and the varying recipes it has been historically made with. Since 2004 Mould has been classed as a Category 1 risk to health as assessed under the Health and Safety Hazards Rating System (HHSRS) – the same class as asbestos for example. The HHSRS risk assessment has been legislation in England & Wales since 2006, under the Health & Safety Act. The material in this collection had considerable mould infection and presented a definable risk to staff and users. For this reason it was vitally important to remove mould growth and endeavour to denature the spores remaining in the paper. Mould damage and bacteria cause heavy darkening and discolouration which renders documents illegible over time, in some cases causing a problem with digitisation.

The items comprised single section pamphlets of handmade paper, stab-sewn through a plain or marble-paper cover. The paper had become very fibrous and fragile and easily prone to further damage from handling. Many had large areas of loss and some pages had become stuck together. The sewing structures had disintegrated and in some cases no longer held folios into signatures.

Cleaning was carried out with soft brushes and a museum vacuum where applicable, on a Bassaire extraction unit with an ultra fine ULPA filter. Due to the weakened state of so many of the paper documents and their covers, strengthening and stabilisation was achieved by consolidation of fibres and support and repair to areas of loss and damage. Consolidation using 1% hydroxpropycellulose (‘Klucel G’) in isopropanol had the added advantage of safely denaturing the mould spores in the fibres in the treated areas. Klucel G 3% in isopropanol was also used as an adhesive for lens and Japanese tissue repairs to tears and areas of loss.

The old paper covers were in severely degraded condition and while some could be repaired, nonetheless they would continue to be weak and not provide suitable protection. On this occasion it was decided to commission new hand-made marble papers for new covers. The marble-papers were lined with an archival quality paper to make them slightly stiffer and the cleaned, digitised and repaired pamphlets were re-sewn into them. Archival sleeves were also made for each account to be housed in.