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Re: [BKARTS] freeing the pastedowns

If you are willing to sacrifice the boards and covering, you can come in
from the "back."  That is, remove covering, and then layers of board,
advancing carefully inward until you have nothing left but the pastedowns.
The last steps are usually careful sanding to remove any board residue.

I've used this technique on old mounted photographs--the kind adhered to
thick board--so that they can be put into normal photo albums.


-----Original Message-----
From: Book_Arts-L [mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of
Rodney Fry
Sent: Saturday, December 10, 2005 10:11 AM
To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: freeing the pastedowns

I have used gentle steaming to enable me to lift a paste-down, but usually
place the board in a shallow water bath dish to soak it off.   Both of these
procedures could damage the board/leather/paper,  but the books have been
from the 1600-1700s and in such poor condition that the board requires
replacement (perhaps subsequently inlaying part of the original leather with
any blind tooling visible, if possible).   I find that any ink inscriptions
of these
dates have reacted with the paper to such an extent that they are acceptably
fast and do not easily wash out - naturally it is wise to check on a very
part of the inscription to test this approach!

I have a number of restored books with the original leaves sewn back in with
their inscriptions.   Admittedly some of these I have also lightly bleached
calcium hypochlorite solution, etc.   This does tend to lighten the ink, but
paper was badly stained and foxed so it was acceptable to me.  (One can also
make a photocopy onto age compatible hand-made paper and include this in
the repair perhaps.)   If the paper is in reasonable state then one doesn't
to bleach.

Perhaps after wetting adequately it may be possible to mechanically lift the
paper by attempting to slide a very thin bone folder (I have filed a folder
to ca 1/16in with a sharp, rounded, blunt knife edge), or scalpel, under the
edge to release the board fibres and adhesive.   Normally books of this age
come off fairly readily as far as my experience goes - a relatively modern
book perhaps would not be so easy?

The leaves can then be strengthened/repaired as necessary with acid free
tissue, etc, dried and re-attached.

Rodney Fry
[Like Michael Faraday,1791-1867, a bookbinder's apprentice who became an
electrical engineer, I'm an electrical engineer who does bookbinding
as a hobby!]

On 9 Dec 2005 at 18:03, J. J. Foncannon wrote:

>  Occasionally, people want me to recase a book, but want the old
>  flyleaf and the old pastedown saved, because there may
> be important graphics or signatures on them.  I have always had to
> decline these jobs, since I have no idea of how to save the old
> pastedowns.  Ideally, I would like to create a new cover, with new
> boards and leather, but save the old endpapers and attach them to the
> new cover.
>  I have tried various techniques--- steaming, solvents, ironing--- to
>  free the old pastedowns from the boards on
> practice books, but nothing seems to work.  Is there anyway to do
> this?  It seems the older the book, the more fragile the pastedowns,
> and the more avidly they adhere to the boards. Thanks, Jet --

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