Repairing a loose binding

So here is a long overdue post. Sadly, this was the last repair I was able to do in the UCF Special Collections department. At least it was a fun last project.

Warning! This is a picture heavy post!

This is the front of the book “Essays of Elia” prior to doing any work. What do you see? Oh yeah, all that tape.
Book Spine, more tape!
And guess what, more tape and adhesive!
A close up of me slowly lifting the clear adhesive off of the inlaid gold ink.
Another closeup.
Tape is gone, but now the book is super sticky. So to fix that I bring in my secret weapon!
Magic Rub! A great non-abrasive way to rub off the sticky mess left by stickers/tape/etc.
Good as new! You would never know there was a sticker there! I wish all adhesive jobs were this simple.
Stickers are gone and the book is back to its original look.
Here is a torn page that has been repaired with Japanese tissue paper and wheat paste. You can barely tell that there was a tear! Fortunately this is all reversible in case better methods come along later. 🙂
This happens to a lot of older books. So we are going to go ahead and put that back together with some reversible PVA.
First I went ahead and found a small piece of Japanese tissue paper that would just cover the opening. This reinforces the repair.
Now I evenly cover the tissue paper with wheat paste.
And of course place it in the void. I used a stiff paint brush and a bone folder to ease the paper into the crack.
I have the previously repaired torn page between two sheets of acid free paper with just about 2mm of the left edge showing. I then use this as a guide for painting on the PVA because it makes a nice straight line. This is called ‘tipping in’.
Now I lay the paper in place and close the book. I then slide in a sheet of mylar on either side of the repaired paper just in case a bit of PVA seeps out. It is easier to pull glue off of plastic than it is paper. Even if it is reversible glue.

This was probably one of my favorite repairs. I love that there were multiple things that needed doing and I really enjoyed bringing the book back to life. Sadly, it was my last repair job at UCF as of now, but maybe I will be allowed to come repair items as a volunteer here when I get more free time!

2 thoughts on “Repairing a loose binding

    1. We bought it through Talas.

      Here is the description from their website:
      “Our Jade line of adhesives now includes a water reversible formulation, our Jade R. This acid free archival adhesive provides a very strong bond similar to that of the Jade 403 with the added advantage of being reversible with water after it has dried. Ideal for conservation work where reversibility is of concern.

      Excellent for bonding paper, board, fabric, canvas, leather and films to other like surfaces. Dries quickly to a clear flexible film, and is easily cleaned up with water.”

      Does that help?


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