Monday, 23 February 2009
I am in Utopia.
The Golden Cockerel Press edition. Decorations by Eric Gill, printed by Robert Gibbings in 1929, lovely stuff. Bound in a very un-inspiring, faded blue buckram. Some light damage to the tail of the spine... a perfect candidate for re-binding. The first job is to clean the pages with a soft brush. This is to remove any material that has found a home with-in the pages such as biscuits and small people.
Once the small people have been given a new home the text block is removed. This may appear to be a little bit on the crude side but it is an important step. The boards are a deep yellow in colour, rather like straw. This because one of the components of the board make-up is... straw. We call it Straw Board, gripping stuff.
The next step is to clean the old spine linings off.It is important to be able to understand what sort of old adhesive has been used, in this case Hot or Scotch Glue. It is very similar to Rabbit Skin glue. I place the book, spine up in a finishing press with old boards to support and protect the text block. I apply a coat of paste to the spine and cover with cling film. The cling film keeps the paste moist thus re-activating the old adhesive, allowing me to gently remove the old kraft paper and mull. The sine is cleaned slowly to ensure that the paper is not damaged. More paste is applied as required.
When all the old stuff has been removed the spine is allowed to dry, I usually leave it overnight.
The sewing is removed and any final cleaning is then carried out. The sections can then be pressed individually to remove the old backing and battle can commence.