So, I have taken a good look at The Album of Beautiful Homes’ it isn’t so beautiful…
Rather than just jump in, I decided to do an in-depth triage of the book. It is clear that this book was used by the original owner to build a house. There is a page that was removed, folded several times and then (thankfully) taped back in. There are pages with lots of edge wear, they are dirty, corners folded, gutters ripped, sewing loose.
When you first think about taking on a challenge like this, there is a bit of bravado. There is the belief that you will be able to handle the work, no worries. Well, after REALLY looking at this book, there are a lot of worries. But I am going to press on and get this book restored. It just might take more than a week…
Here is a list of things that will need to happen:
- Disassemble entire book
- Separate text block into individual pages
- Clean paper and de-acidify (books printed in the late 1800’s to today have a high acid content in paper)
- Repair tears and worn edges
- Guard gutter areas to strengthen sewing structure
- Re-assemble sections and sew
- Make a new set of boards and cover in appropriate cloth
- Replace end papers
- Mount restored text block in new case
- Build a slip case or clamshell box to protect book
I think those are all the steps, if I find more issues or other challenges I will update this. For reference I am using Edith Diehl’s Bookbinding, It’s Background and Technique, Cockerell’s Bookbinding and the Care of Books, Johnson’s Book Repair and Conservation and Greenfield’s The Care of Fine Books. I think all these titles are available on Amazon and AbeBooks.
Here are some photos of typical damage to the book: