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Re: [BKARTS] Book repair

I spent many years in trade book publishing and this is quite common.
Usually this happens when the glue is not hot enough or too thick to
penetrate. But usually it is because art books are printed on heavily coated
paper that does not absorb ink well. I'm surprised that a Rizzoli book from
the late 70s is not sewn, especially a large one. Sometimes an art publisher
does a hard cover edition that is sewn and then allows a book club like
Quality Paperback Book Club to do a paperback edition using the negatives,
but the book club doesn't sew the book. Another tactic is to print a few
thousand extra books, but not sewing them. Thus the first run has a lower
unit cost, giving more profit to the publisher. They have the extras to bind
up if the book sells sufficiently. If not, they are perfect bound (and
therefore cheaper and more inferior) and sold to discount houses or they
eventually end up on the remainder tables at Borders or Barnes and Noble.
Anyway, the arithmetic may sound odd but if you do it on paper you'll see it

Pardon me, but I often wax nostalgic about the days when we book publishers
worked so hard to product quality books. It seems those days are gone.

Buck Jeppson
Washington, DC

-----Original Message-----
From: Book_Arts-L [mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Gavin
Sent: Saturday, April 17, 2004 3:16 PM
To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [BKARTS] Book repair

Dear Keith,

I, like you, will be waiting with keen anticipation to other responses, but
here's my experience.

This problem is a symptom, and probably not isolated.  Most trade books,
even quite expensive ones, are adhesive bound these days.  And usually by
simple butt-edge gluing with hot melt adhesive that does not always give
good glue penetration and contact.  This may be the result of too low a
glue temperature, too little book block preheat, etc.  The page drop out
you are seeing could spread to adjacent pages and progress throughout the
book.  So, whatever you do, check for other weakly bonded pages before
going further.  If the problem is wide spread, you may have to rebind the
whole book.

The paper of a large format art book is probably heavily sized and filled,
and is therefore likely sensitive to water, so rebinding will have to use
water sparingly.  If only the two pages are involved, it may be possible to
tip them back in by gluing the inserted edges sparingly with dryish glue or
glue-paste, and clamping up tight.  If you get the edges too wet, this may
result in swelling, cockling and subsequent failure of the bond of adjacent
pages, as well as unsightly waviness in the paper at the spine.  Even if
the repair is successful, the repaired pages will not open as well as they
did previously.  This will stress the adjacent glue and spine
reinforcements, if any, so the life of the book is likely to be reduced.

One possible solution, with which I have no experience, so you are
definitely on your own, is to reassemble the pages as well as possible with
no new glue.  Then check to see if they were perhaps a little out of line
in the first place.  If this is the case, try to ease them back into line
with the other pages at the spine.  Then clamp the book up over the whole
face of the book block and reheat the spine with a flat plate or iron,
until you are quite sure the hot glue has had a chance to flow.  The glue
must be quite liquid, as it should penetrate into the paper pores for a
good glue joint.  This also requires that the pages themselves get hot at
the spine edges.  You can watch for glue oozing out the spine head and
tail.  Then remove the heat, allow to cool and unclamp.  Do not leave on
the heat for longer than necessary, or you may get hot glue seeping in
between the pages and making the spine entirely rigid, and the book
unopenable.  Do not unclamp before the glue is set, or you may end up with
a mess.  Trim off any oozed glue and you are done.  The original gluing
process was done on an automatic binder, and took only seconds at higher
heat than you are likely to use.  So the glues used were not designed for
this kind of reheating.  You should not use high heat, as this may result
in some discolouring (charring) of the glue and possibly of the lamination,
etc.  The lamination glue may also melt, and this may result in starving
the lamination coating of glue, resulting in mottling and bubbles.  Check
before you try this by experimenting on some small part of the book like
under a pastedown, or at the inside margin of the butt end of the spine.

With a board bound book, this procedure may require the removal of the
case.  When this is done, the remaining book block is essentially a paper
back book.

The removal and replacement of the case depends strongly on the methods
used in the original binding.  It is probable that the case is secured by a
reinforcement of some sort hot-glued to the spine like a super and
extending some distance under the end paper, which may also be hot glued to
the board.  Hot glue is a pain, but it can be delaminated by careful use of
heat.  If this is possible, then you may be able to remove the end paper
and reinforcement without too much damage, and recasing will be a simple
matter of repositioning and touching up the case, reassembling the book and
heating to seal the glue back down.

Modern bindings of this sort were not designed with repairs in mind.  This
work is a bit painstaking , and trials on a less valuable book are in order.

Back to waiting and reading. Gavin

At 12:00 PM 17/04/2004 -0500, Keith Patten wrote:
>Hi all,
>I have a book repair question but first a preliminary question: are there
>other listservs that deal with book repairs?
>My book repair question:
>I have a large 1978 Rizzoli book (on Ming Porcelain) which has two loose
>pages, next to each other. I would have thought this book had sewn
>signatures but it does not. I guess the stack of pages was glued together
>like a paperback or something. How do I attach these pages back into the

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