July 30, 2008

Fix your library

If, like me, you have enough books to start your own library, you might occasionally find some of your older books starting to show some wear and tear. I've mended some jacket covers and replaced the failing glue which holds the pages onto the binder. However, if you want some really great information on how to fix almost any book defect, check out this: A Simple Book Repair Manual. Excerpt:

Guiding Principles of Simple Book Repair

Reversibility: Any treatment applied to a book should be reversible, that is it can be undone easily at a later date. If only the equipment, supplies, and techniques outlined in this manual are used, reversibility should not be a problem. In reality, only enclosure of the book (as in boxing) is truly reversible.

Do No Harm: This is a corollary to reversibility. If a repair seems difficult or you think you do not have the skill to complete the repair, set the book aside.

Expediency: Almost any non-brittle book can be repaired, given enough time and the proper equipment. Simple book repair implies that the repair will not take hours or days of staff time. As you become more comfortable with simple book repair, the decision to repair in-house versus sending the book to a commercial bindery will be easier to make.


  • The order of pages must be preserved regardless of the repair or reformat.
  • Books must have a protective cover to the pages.

The Book Repair Toolbox

Suggested Supplies:

  • Archival quality repair tape
  • Awl
  • Blotting paper
  • Bone folders
  • Book press
  • Bull dog clips #2, #3
  • Cotton gloves
  • Cotton tip applicators: 6 inch
  • Cutting board
  • Hake brush
  • Interleaving paper
  • Japanese papers
  • Knitting needles - several sizes
  • Linen thread
  • Methyl Cellulose,PVA & Wheat Starch Paste
  • Mylar & Squeege
  • Plastic erasers
  • Puffy pads
  • Ruler
  • Scalpel
  • Sewing Needles
  • 3M brand double sided tape #415
  • Spatulas
  • Surgical gloves
  • T-Square
  • Wax paper

All you book philes get cracking. For the record, I have 40+ year old paperbacks that are still in very good condition because I take care of my books. As some friends can attest, I also take really good care of their books as long as I have them, even if the time spent in my possession exceeds 15 years.

Not that I'm personally aware of such a thing. I'm just sayin' is all.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 10:57 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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