[Table of Contents] [Search]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [BKARTS] Recent Fan and Perfect Bindings Discussions - Repair of Perfect Bindings from 1830/80s?

Dear Rodney,

Please accept these comments in the spirit given, as from a fellow
neophyte, by no means an expert.

I presume you would want to preserve the reversibility requirement on
restoration of valuable artifacts.  I presume also that you would want to
preserve unaltered as much of the material of the original as possible as
well as its style.  So I would suggest that the first step is to fully
separate the pages, clean them of old glue, and set them up to verify that
the original block shape can be recovered without altering the paper.  Then
clamp up and form the spine, perhaps with the addition of water or
glue.  By this I mean shape the pages to make a suitable groove which will
fit the covers.  This will open the block somewhat at the spine.  Then glue
in shape, taking care to force the glue a little bit into the expanded fan
of the formed block, applying any backing you may deem necessary.  I would
not contemplate sawing in thread, as spine rigidity is not required.  The
hollow back is intended to permit rotational flexure about the spine axis,
but to restrict lateral flexure.  The spine gluing should respect that, so
no sawing or threading.

In the method I am contemplating, the great choice is the glue.  It should
be a latex of some sort, by preference a reversible type.  There has been
mention of some in the fan binding discussion recently, but I have not used
any.  If the spine is lined with some sort of linen, then it will be
somewhat rigid.  If again the glue is flexible, as in the original gutta
percha, it will act as a flexible shell, allowing the spine to flex, but
not to open completely.  This will protect the pages (assess fragility and
brittleness?) from excess opening at the spine, which would unduly stress
the pages at the glue line.  The extra paper lining on the spine of the
originals was presumably intended to do just that.  So a reasonably thick
glue coat of a flexible glue would seem to be indicated.  Instead of paper
I would consider a woven material, so as not to overly restrict compressive

If the pages are somewhat fragile, I would consider guarding them in pairs,
with the guard paper spanning the pair, on the outside.  Then proceed as
above.  The guards will glue together as do the outer sheets of a
signature, while the pages will be free to work as hinged sheets, without
stress at the insertion.  The guard paper would have to be thin in order
not to expand the binding overly.  This may not be possible if the original
binding is to be preserved.

As I think about the requirements on the glue coat, I think that the best
effect would be obtained from a solid glue coat at the back of the block,
with a fine layer of fairly strong and rigid cloth, covered by a foamed
glue, or perhaps a thin layer of closed cell foam as a liner.  This would
strengthen and resist bending in a desirable way, but would permit the glue
line to remain a fairly rigid membrane.  I don't know how one could do this
in a way that would respect the period of the original.

The backing would proceed as required by the style of the original.  Excess
liner cloth would be allowed to permit binding the spine to the boards, etc.

Please let us know how your project proceeds.


At 02:12 PM 12/11/2002 +0000, Rodney Fry wrote:
>I think it would be quite difficult to fan the spine for these books to allow
>the adhesive to penetrate between the pages, particularly for the gilded text
>block.  It may be possible for the large book as the edges, not being gilded,
>could be trimmed very slightly subsequently.  But then as Ben Wien
>discussed in
>his message of 11 Nov there are problems with the double fan-binding and
>adhesive penetration.
>For strength/support I think the spines would need to covered with a thin,
>linen cloth let into the boards, or under the board paste-downs (I have
>some ca
>0.006" thick about 80 threads/in).   For a sewn book I would perhaps reinforce
>the lining adhesion by sewing through all along the joint, but in these two
>instances I am doubtful.   The large "folio" volume I would not put upright on
>the shelf, it would remain on its side thus minimising any spine stress
>to detach the text block from the boards.
>I would be interested in comments on what might be thought most
>appropriate for
>these books.

Gavin Stairs
Gavin Stairs Fine Editions
525 Canterbury Road
London, Ontario
Canada   N6G 2N5

telephone: (519) 434-8555.
email: stairs@stairs.on.ca

Gavin Stairs Fine Editions is a small, computer press specializing in book
design and fine, hand-made books.

            BOOK_ARTS-L: The listserv for all the book arts.
      For subscription information, the Archive, and other related
            resources and links go to the Book_Arts-L FAQ at:

        Archive maintained and suppported by Conservation OnLine

[Subject index] [Index for current month] [Table of Contents] [Search]