JAIC 1997, Volume 36, Number 3, Article 5 (pp. 233 to 244)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1997, Volume 36, Number 3, Article 5 (pp. 233 to 244)




The first thing to determine is the extent to which the book will open comfortably without putting a strain on the cover, endpapers, sewing, or text block paper. Open the book to the page to be displayed by allowing the book to fall open at this point in your hands without forcing the cover open. Once the cover has been opened to a comfortable point, double check the covers' hinges, the endpapers' joints, and the boards' attachments to be certain they are not pulling and straining. This pulling and straining can cause these areas to split apart, especially if the book is to be left open in one position for an extended period while on exhibit. Also check that there are no weak areas in the paper of text block that could give way to running tears while the book is open. And, finally, check to be certain the sewing structure is strong and unlikely to snap while the book is open. Look for loose threads or thread ends that are popping up away from the gutter of the text block.

Once you have determined the book's comfortable opening, hold that position (fig. 1). Carefully stand the book up on its tail edge, and place it on top of the paper that will be used to draw the book's and the cradle's profile. Sometimes a second person may assist with particularly large, heavy books by holding the books upright. Using a ruler and a pencil, draw the profile of the cover in a linear fashion, keeping the spine area angular. Keep the line drawing about ⅛ in. away from the book's cover to avoid damaging the cover. If you feel unsteady drawing ⅛ in. away from the book's cover, consider plotting points along the cover that could then be connected once the book has been set aside (fig. 2).

Copyright 1997 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works