Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Repairing a 140 Year Old Book

I have a collection of antique cookbooks, most are not worth much but I enjoy trying out the old recipes and reading the advice and household hints.  This method is not for valuable books, they should be repaired by a professional to preserve the value.

One book that I acquired for a couple of dollars because it was literally falling apart was Dr. Chase's Recipes or Information for Everybody.  It's not a recipe book of food but a book of home remedies, some of which I would never try but many are very useful to know.  It was written in 1867 and this 2nd enlarged edition was printed in 1874.
This shows the spine with the loose sections assembled back in order.  There had been a repair done at some point in the past where they tried to sew the covers back on and glued down some dark fabric to hold it all together.  It has some lost pages as well.

I used acid free glue to adhere the page folios (groups of pages that fold into a booklet) back together as sewing them was not an option, the paper is too fragile along the spine.  When pages were very damaged I gently ironed them out and glued acid free paper strips to the shredded areas.
When I had the folio sections put back together with the pages repaired and in order I created a new spine to hold the pages together, rather like modern paperbacks are made.
I used the acid free glue, smoothing it out with my finger, then applying a scrap piece of  cotton duck fabric.  The fabric was also glued to the new acid free end papers I had added at the last minute. 

Then I moved on to the covers while everything dried.

I played with adding gold to the indented words, scraped off most of the darkened old glue and coated the edges and outsides with Mod
Podge to help preserve and stiffen them.
The overhang of the cotton fabric was folded up and the covers were glued in place.  I lined the pages up with the edge of the original liner paper on the covers to get the distance correct.  The book was weighted with another heavy book and left overnight.
The next step was covering the spine and I had some black suede that was in a huge bag of fabrics picked up at Goodwill a couple months ago, so the cost was literally pennies.  You could use chamois cloth like they sell to polish cars with as it is thin suede leather as well.  Another option is a heavy cotton fabric like denim or duck.

I lined up the edge on the front cover, laid down 2 lines of glue and pressed the leather down, wiping any excess up with a damp rag.  I did end up with some that slightly shows on the suede but it's not bad.  I left it to sit overnight to dry well.
Sorry for the light blasted photo, the black suede does not photograph well.  I wanted you to be able to see how I cut the suede and folded up the ends of the spine area.  Those folded pieces are glued.  The suede is cut where it will fold nicely inside the cover and the width was trimmed to fit so that it could be glued to the back cover same as the front.  At this point I wrapped the suede and glued it to the back cover, again cleaning any excess and letting it dry overnight.  I did not glue the spine area, it needs to be able to move when you open the book.
This is what it looked like before gluing the flaps in place.
Just some dots of glue added and it was folded onto the inside of the cover, repeated for all 4 tabs.  You could cover them with a pretty end paper if you chose.
The last step was a label on the spine.  I used a gold edged vintage border downloaded from The Graphics Fairy and if you have not visited her site you should if you ever need free vintage graphics and borders.  I inserted the title of the book using a font that was similar to the one used on the covers.  It was then printed out, in a size that would work, onto parchment like cardstock.  Cut out and pasted into place.

This is the first book I have repaired like this and I am quite pleased with it.  It should last well beyond my lifetime now.  

You can find me linking up with other crafty people at The Knick of Time.


3 comments:

Saturdays Vintage Finds said...

what a lucky book to be found by you and get a second lease on life.

desertskyquilts said...

That is truly amazing. What a talent you have for this. I loved seeing the pictures and could have viewed even more. I love books, and I love seeing you rescue this one.

Judy S. said...

Wish you were closer to help fix a family Bible!

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