Turning a paper back into a hardback – Unofficial History 1970, by Field Marshal Sir William Slim, Corgi Books
This binding was not a valuable book financially, but one whose owner was extremely fond of it. Being a late twentieth century paperback, it was not made to last. The paper is brittle and the binding was in a perfect style, which, ironically, is so far from perfect that one must think the term was made in jest.
A perfect binding implies that loose sheets are stacked and adhered at the spine edge with a thick layer of PVA or similar adhesive. This is then covered with a paper cover, which is adhered over the heavy spine, and tada! You have the modern paperback. Note the lack of sewing, spine lining or any form of reinforcement to keep the book from falling apart. This makes a very clear case as to why your regular paperback will often fall apart on you when reading. If, by some miracle, you can keep the book free from dog ears and spine breakages, it won’t be long before the adhesive gives up the ghost all on its own and falls apart anyway – as mentioned, decidedly less than “perfect”.
In order to create a hardback, as requested by this client, I treated this book quite similarly to a thesis binding – stab-sewn and covered as a quarter-bound flat back. The result was very pleasing, and with a simple cover design and title on the spine, it now has a new lease of life that should last for years to come.
If you have a similar book that you would like to preserve for the future in this way, please do get in touch to discuss the particulars.
TEXTBLOCK has brittle paper, which is discolouring at the edges. BINDING is perfect bound and still in tact at present.
TEXTBLOCK – Keep original cover as first page. – Create holes adjacent to the spine and sew in pamphlet style. – Adhere plain black endpapers. – Line spine with cloth and manilla lining. BINDING – Create new cover – flat back and quater-bound with black cloth spine and printed cover in the style of the original. – Case-in and finish.
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.
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.
Like many a crafts person, I have several tool rolls, all of which I have made myself – for tools, paintbrushes, knitting needles – you name it, I have it in a tool roll! So I thought I would impart my knowledge and practice in the art of the tool roll so that one and all can have a go. You don’t need much fabric, but if you don’t have any – I have put together some kits which are available on my Etsy page, which are hopefully wonderfully tempting!
The lovely Helen from work has kindly tested these instructions for me and they have been adjusted as suggested!
You will need…
1 x patterned fabric – dimensions below
3 x plain fabric – dimensions below
1 x ribbon – 75cm long x 5mm wide (can be longer and wider if you’d prefer)
Sewing machine OR needle and thread (the latter will obviously take longer)
Dressmakers pencil (optional)
Finished Tool Roll:
– Firstly we are going to work on the tool side, so put the patterned fabric to one side.
– Iron a 2cm hem onto the long edge of both fabric 3 and 4, then put fabric 4 to one side for the moment.
– Line up fabric 3 with the bottom of fabric 2, ensuring both are front facing and the ironed hem is at the top of fabric 3.
– Pin these two pieces together
TIPS – Pin the fabric with the pins perpendicular to the edge of the fabric, this will allow you to run your machine over the pins without misplacing them, it will also prevent the fabric from moving sideways against each other.
– Sew along the red dashed edge, keeping the sewing as close to the edge as possible – 1cm if possible. Don’t worry about rough edges, these will be covered up when we sew the whole thing together.
– The next step is to divide this new pocket up for the tools. I have made the partitions 2cm each, but you can make them whatever widths work well for your tools. Keep in mind that the divisions at the edges shrink when we sew the whole thing together, so it may be worth starting 3cm in and finishing about 3cm from the other end to allow for sewing round the edge.
– Pin fabrics 2 and 3 at the hem to stop it flapping about and then mark every point where you want to make a tool division – you could do this with pins, a dressmakers pencil, chalk or you could do it by eye.
– Starting from the base of the fabric, sew up in a straight line, perpendicular to the base of the fabric, to meet your first marker. You will need to remove the pin as you get there as the machine will not sew over it.
– Repeat this for each of your pin markers until you have made all of your tool partitions.
Your tool roll should now look a bit like this:
– We are now going to attach fabric 4 and form the lower pocket. This will be on the outside of the tool divisions we have just made.
– Firstly we must sew over the hem we ironed onto fabric 4 at the beginning – this is to stop it flapping about.
– Once hemmed, sew fabric 4 into place the same way we did for fabric 3. The new hem should be facing inwards.
– Sew along the dashed edge, keeping the sewing as close to the edge as possible – 1cm if possible. The same as we did for fabric 3.
– Next we are going to divide this pocket into two, as one large pocket will probably be less useful.
– Do this simply by sewing up the middle of of the fabric in line with one of the central tool partitions. If you have a variety of tool division widths – make sure you sew in line with one of them, otherwise you will sew up one of your tool divisions and it will be unusable.
– Nearly there! Next we are going to sew on our backing fabric – fabric 1 – and our ribbon tie all in one go.
– Fold your ribbon in half and pin it onto fabric 2 as shown in the picture – the long ends should be on top of your fabric and the little folded bit should be sticking out the edge.
– Once your ribbon is in place, match up fabric 1 with fabric 2 (and 3 & 4) and pin them together – ensuring that the good sides are facing each other.
– Sew along the edges of your fabric bundle, ensuring you leave an open space at the top to turn it inside out, about 12cm. The sewing edge can be up to 2.5cm due to the initial fabric pieces we cut, but try and keep the edges relatively small or your outer tool divisions won’t be much use.
– Turn it inside out and iron it nice and flat – at this point your ribbon should be nicely hanging on the right edge.
TIPS – Once you are definitely happy with the result, you can cut off the excess edges and corners on the inside of your tool roll, which should make it nice and neat on the outside – this is not essential to the finishing of the roll.
– FINALLY – sew up the open edge and fill with tools – TA DA!!
Don’t forget you can get ready prepared kits on my Etsy page to make these tool rolls, all made up from lovely fabrics from my stash and my local fabric shop – they are all very nice!
Once your all done – photograph your lovely tool roll and upload you picture to our maudie.made Facebook page and let me see all your hard work! Here’s Helen’s fabulous tool roll!
TIPS – If you found any of the tips useful, there is a tips jar in the sidebar!
This has taken me all of half an hour to make, and I really should have done it about a year ago – why is it the simplest things take the longest to get around to doing?!
A book support is an extremely useful part of a book conservators kit, without one there is a permanent struggle to support the book cover and text block using anything to hand (other books, boards, rolls of felt, the cat… ). They can be bought from PEL, but come at £46.50 plus postage – though they are extremely nice! However, the beans I bought were from Wilko’s for £6.50, and the pillow case was an old one, so all in all a cheaper version.
Prior to filling up the pillow case, I sewed up the open edge most of the way along, leaving a small gap to fill the beans with. Once I had filled it, I tested it with a few books and found that I needed to take out some of the beans to get the support just right. Once happy, I then sewed up the open edge and TA DA!
Well I definitely passed a marker today, as I have finished the paper repairs for the toys scrapbook – Mrs E. Nevill Jackson’t Scrapbook from the Museum of Childhood. They have taken a long time as many of them protruded from the edges of the book, meaning they have been crushed over the years.
Some pictures of the book and its inserts before I completed the work.
In order to repair these pages, many of them had to be locally humidified first, as they were folded in on themselves, and opening up the folds without the introduction of moisture, would have broken them. I separated the local humidification from the rest of the book using melinex and effectively sectioned off a page at a time. Once humidified, they each had to be dried between blotters before I could repair them. The repairs were then done using japanese tissue (usumino) for the support and a toned thicker tissue for any infills, as can be seen in my last post.
The repaired pages…
So obviously now the inserts are much bigger than the book, as they would have been originally. In order to prevent them being crushed again, I am going to have create some sort of chemise cover to extend the boards and protect the inserts – so watch this space!!!
Some time back in a post earlier in the year, I mentioned that I would potentially be working on a scrapbook from the Museum of Childhood. Well I was lucky enough to be allowed that project to work on as part of my MA final project, along with a recipe scrapbook that I am working on at college.
So I thought I would write an update of the work I have been doing on this second scrapbook, whilst at the V&A. This past week, I have been working on substantial paper repairs for the material that is sticking out of the scrapbook. These are items that, due to their oversize, have been bashed and damaged – so I am repairing them.
It’s quite short and picture heavy, this one, but I will try and post some more soon!