Treasure Island | 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.

TREATMENT

  • 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.
  • Made endpapers were created using gold leaf and paint and sewn along with the textblock.
  • Following pressing, it was sewn onto three tapes.
  • All three edges were paired and gilded in gold leaf.
  • Endbands were sewn in gold and black silk.
  • The spine was lined with fray not and manilla.
  • The boards were laced in and covered in a smooth cartridge paper and sanded.
  • The binding was then covered in a light green goatskin.
  • The cover decoration consisted of the first chapter of the book blind tooled onto the cover, and the title brought out in gold leaf.

A 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A Book of Puddings | an unpublished scrapbook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.

TEXTBLOCK 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.

Prints by Four Artists

Prints by Four Artists

Artist book of prints by four artists
c. 1641, Fully bound in green parchment
343x504x53 (WHD)

CONDITION

BINDING The heavy parchment cover was damaged in several places, including a piece missing from the back-board and a frayed split down the spine. The cover was pasted onto the boards, and also either lined or placed on lined boards. The boards were warped and had heavy corner damage. Other than this they were fairly solid and reusable.
TEXTBLOCK was packed sewn, though it was mostly broken. There was heavy paper damage with tears along the spine, the edges of the book and two loose leaves. The edges were brittle throughout the book . It was extremely dirty throughout.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION There were two heavily damaged and unusable green ties.

TREATMENT

  • Mechanically cleaned throughout with a chemical sponge.
  • Pulled apart the sewing, keeping the back board and final section attached together as it was part of the last section.
  • Carried out paper repairs to the textblock and section folds using various appropriate Japanese tissue.
  • Consolidated corners of the boards, including recreating one using layered grey board. They were left uncovered.
  • Pressed the boards to flatten where possible, without humidification.
  • Attached new cords to the old cords by sewing and pasting them together.
  • Resewed the sections with packed sewing, using the back board as the primary section to sew from, as final section was still attached.
  • Cords were laced into the boards using the original method.
  • Spine backed with PaperNao K37.
  • Rebacked with parchment, toned with Selaset Dyes.
  • Created and attached a net pouch to preserve the green ties.

If you have a damaged book that you would like to discuss, please do get in touch.

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

New projects with tape removal

Might I take this opportunity to remind everyone that tape is not for sticking books back together. That’s all.

The projects coming in have been a selection of spine removals, tape removal, rehousing, rebacking and a full fine binding for an author based locally, which is going to be a great project get going on – so good stuff all around!

These lifting tools have been made from old hacksaw blades and are extremely useful for getting under spine pieces, end papers and for tape removal.

I also finally managed to get my little pamphlet bindings folded and in the press, they’ll be ready for trimming and sewing next week – watch this space for completed ones!

Phew! Busy week – don’t mention the map, it’s my nemesis.