Essays, Letters and Poems 1781, vol 5

So I am back to my Essays book this week which is exciting! I have to admit that I have been a bit nervous about the next few stages of conservation on this one, as I am venturing into unknown territory. However the book belongs to my tutor and come from a charity shop, so I take comfort in the fact that if I completely destroy it, its not the end of the world!

So the next two stages are toning my leather spine piece and repacking the book. After that it will be retouching little bits to make it look amazing! Unfortunately yesterday I had plucked up the courage to dye my leather spine piece that I pared for a whole DAY last term only to find a much better matching piece of calf – so guess what today is – yup, leather pairing again. Dammit.

Anyway, I did manage to practice the toning yesterday and get the right colour, so at least I will be ready to tone next week. If not today if I am super quick!

Bits of toned leather

So I thought I would just update this post with the actual dye ratios – more for my future reference!

Batch 1 – key colour
4 – yellow
1 – brown
25 – water

Batch 2 – touch up colour
3 x yellow
1 x brown
1 x red
50 x water

Tinofix
1 x tinofix
17 x water

Essays, Letters and Poems 1781, vol 4

Well I’m getting there – I’m not convinced I will finish this book before Christmas given that I’m off next week, but we will see how I do on Thursday and Friday. I’ll need to tone and pair my spine piece and then attach it – bit nerve wracking…

Anyhow – last week was fairly successful – I did in fact manage to attach my boards, using a method of board slotting, as previously planned. First of all, I had to slice through the edge of the board to create a space for the aerocottong to slot into. This was primarily done with a sharp scalpel and then retraced with a cobblers knife to get the width.

The slot made in the edge of the board with scalpel and cobblers knife

Once the board was slotted, the aerocotton on the spine was pasted out and pushed into the hole. Both this and the board slotting create a thicker board edge than would have previously been present, hence it is important to put the book in the press to set well and to the correct thickness. It is primarily nipped for about five minutes, checked for movement, and then left for much longer. I was able to leave mine in the press overnight as I completed it at the end of the day.

Melinex used to protect the text block whilst pasting the aerocotton
The aerocotton slotted into the board edge
In the press

The following day gave me two well attached boards, which was a happy moment! Next I moved onto lifting the edge of the boards in preparations of the leather reback. This was done by first lining the leather with Tengujo 5gsm and Cellugel, to adhere it and prevent the leather darkening. This tissue prevents any loss of friable leather pieces that may have been dislodged during the lifting.

The result - a nice strong attachment
Lifting the edge of the board in preparation for the leather reback

 

 

Essays, Letters and Poems 1781, vol 3

Having pasted down the cords in vol 2 of this book, I was now ready to line the spine and move onto the next step. Lining the spine was done with a layer of japanese tissue, which was quite a thick Kozo Shu 23gsm. Once dried aerocotton went on top, this was slighting wider than the spine either side, as the excess will be used for the board slotting and attaching. Both the tissue and the aerocotton had to avoid the cords, as can be seen in the photo, as they do not mould well over the cords and would cause problems when rebacking.

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Whilst this was drying, I was able to move on to the endbands. Having found some old remnants of what had once been, I was able to determine that the end bands had been a dusty red and dirty white at one point, so went about dyeing some thread to what I thought would be an appropriate colour. This was done with a thin thread, the endband core I made up from a thin piece of cord wrapped in japanese tissue for strength and evenness, these cores can be seen in the pictures below. Once the therad was dyed I went about sewing on the end bands. Given the instability of the text block due to the two initially loose cords, I only tied down four times on the text block, this prevented too much disturbance of the text block and was still strong enough to keep the end bands stable. I also pasted a piece of japanese tissue over the back of the end bands and onto the spine for added strength.

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All in all they came out pretty well and I’m quite chuffed. Endbands are not necessarily always re-sewn as there is an argument it is more restoration rather than conservation, and they are not necessary for the stabilitiy of the book. If not sewn, they can be made from toned tissue on cord. Though I think mine look quite nice, and it is nice to do them in the same way they once might have been.

Essays, Letters and Poems 1781, vol 2

Having toned some japanese tissue for my repairs to the cover of this book, the next steps were able to happen in conjunction in one another, and I have been working on them steadily. Unfortunately it was at these following points where some hiccups occurred. My colleagues tell me that you learn more if you make mistakes to begin with, though I can’t help feeling a little disappointed in myself.

Having discussed various options with my tutors, we decided that I would remove the spine of the book as it is severely deteriorated and crumbling away. It would also give me practice in spine removal. If this book was of great importance, it is unlikely the spine would be removed and would be worked around. In order to save the spine, I used a Klucel G gel to adhere a strip of japanese tissue, this way, when lifting the spine, it will remain in tact and can be pasted back on again once I have completed the reback.

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Unfortunately, this was the first thing that went wrong, as the spine was so deteriorated, it was not lifting and instead was crumbling rather than coming off in one piece. This meant that having got what meagre bits off that I could, the remainder of the spine would have to be lifted with a poultice and would be unsalvageable.

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So I started a full spine removal with the hope of using methyl cellulose, but realised once I started to make it that it would have to be left for 24 hours, and unfortunately on the following day, it was much too runny and adding more methyl cellulose meant waiting another 24 hours. It was at this point I moved on to a wheat starch paste poultice, which I found worked well.

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Then came the second fiasco, having removed the spine, it became apparent that the first two cords had come loose and the sewing, completely eroded, making all the sections loose at this point and the text bock began to split. Rather than resew the book, my tutor decided that it would be better to paste down the cords and hold it together whilst they dried, therefore keeping it together, almost like the modern perfect binding (a ridiculous name given the technique).

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At the same time that all these problems were occurring, I was also able to consolidate the corners of the book boards and cover them with my specially prepared tissue, which, once dried, all looks okay. I will have to tweak the colour a bit and darken it and am practicing on some dummy boards at the moment, so hopefully they will not be so visible in the end.

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Essays, Letters and Poems 1781

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This is the book I am working on at the moment, it has been a few weeks now since I started working on this book, and I hope to finish it before Christmas if all goes well. There have been some hiccups along the way, but as of today, it seemed to be alright when I left it.

It has been a book for me to practice board reattachment, which is a series of lectures we have been having for the past couple of weeks. Here I am going to list the work I have been doing on the book for my journal and hopefully include some pictures of how it has advanced.

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The book has both boards detached and a severely deteriorated spine, as you can see in the photograph, the end papers are detached with some minor paper repairs necessary. The end bands and end caps have also deteriorated and are no longer present, through there is some evidence of their initial present. A full account of the damage is in my documentation report.

The first step I was advised to take was to prepare some toned tissue for the repairs to the cover and also make any paper repairs. These included reattaching the end papers with the use of a japanese hinge on each side. This worked very well and has formed a discreet and strong attachment.

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Toned japanese tissue for cover repairs.

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Reattachment of the endpapers using japanese tissue hinges.

Cookbook in Colour – Project

We have all been asked to bring in dilapidated books, preferably ones that require re-sewing. Togther we’ve brought in a range of interesting books, mine is actually something I had on my bookshelf at home already. It is a cloth case bound book that belonged to my grandfather – a very colourful cookery book from the 60’s/70’s, which I rescued from a clear out some years back with the thought of conserving it, so am quite chuffed I’m actually getting round to doing it! Some pictures below show the book as it looks like in its current state, it also has a lot of little inserts in it with my grandparent’s and mother’s writing, which is quite entertaining!

Apparently the tape is going to be tough to get off (thanks Grandma!!). The endpapers are an integral part of the book, and can’t be discarded or replaced, so I will have to try and get them off…! Our tutor will be coming round to each of us and explaining how we must go about conserving our books, which will take time. So in the meantime, we have started three flat back books, to practice our binding techniques. Here are mine so far:

As you can see I have been practicing using the sewing frame, which I’m starting to love a little bit – I’m not quite used to sitting sideways as they did in days past, as I can’t get my arm round the frame properly, however I’ve seen an etching of women sewing with their arms through the frame, which seems a lot more logical – so I might try that next! One of my classmates, Salvador, also told me that book sections were sewn in large batches on long stretches of tape, and then split up after sewing into separate books – so that’s some thing else to try!  

I’ve also been practicing my marbling (again!!!), with a little more success this time – thanks to another classmate, Naomi, who has given me some Carragean moss for the ink to sit on, and some good instructions (previous attempts were so shameful, there were demoted to making cards!). So I am going to try and cover these books with my new papers – watch this space to see what they’re like – exciting!!!