I’ve been a little quiet lately; it’s been the holidays, and with Robin now here there is a lot of learning going on.
However I am a little excited over an item I just finished, that had been in my pile for a few months.
Its cover was in bits, and the request had been to fix the dust jacket if possible. I thought I’d do a full lining as there were no words on the inside of the dust jacket. However a solubility test showed that some of the colour might run if I gave the jacket a bath. So Robin suggested I do a full heat set lining with some infilling.
Now, infilling is exactly how it sounds: fill in the blank spaces with a material, in our case usually japanese tissue or other suitable paper.
I trace the shapes of the missing pieces on a piece of mylar, and with the use of the light table I make small pin pricks on a piece of suitably coloured japanese paper in that shape – the result is not unlike that of a stamp sheet.
For many items that are brittle I use heat set tissue to repair them: it could be that staples have rusted through the paper and I just need to fill holes, or possibly there are little tears along the edges of the paper. Heat set is sued for quick repairs on items that are not majorly significant, but to which we still require its information.
A thin paper coated with heat sensitive adhesive is laid over the item. I then use a small iron to iron over the both papers. The heat set tissue adheres to the item and makes it stronger.
The work in the bindery and paper laboratory is varied and very interesting. Every day poses new challenges and while many books come to us with some kind of commonality, the solution to their repairs is always slightly different. Another clever way of filling holes is by leaf casting. But that’s going to be someone else’s story. So watch this space!