I seized on this book, which I've been wanting to read for a while, only to discover that the book block was in two pieces and completely separated from the cover. Nonetheless, the charity shop seemed happy to sell it to me for £1.
Really for this kind of repair you need a book press, but I started eyeing up some G-clamps my dad had left lying around after a repair he'd been doing on a wooden box. After finding a thin bit of board and a sort of plank thing, I was equipped to put together a makeshift book press. Or so I hoped.
I offered up the book block and was satisfied that it would lie neatly against the spine. Then I spread PVA glue on the spine and pressed the two parts of the book block against it. Glue of course squeezed out. I should have anticipated that, but I wasn't ready to deal with it, and there I was with a gluey book. So I wiped off what I could with my fingers then tore a piece of A4 from the printer in half and used it to separate the cover from the endpapers. Possibly a mistake.
Then I clamped the book between board and plank using the G-clamps. As the plank was narrower than the book, I anticipated this would probably leave a mark across the cover, but I wasn't too bothered about that. After all, this was an experiment on a very cheap book.
It took several tries to get the book clamped with the spine apparently flush against the book block. Then I laid the apparatus on the floor and left it to dry.
This morning I unclamped the book and inspected the results.
Most of the book block was now glued to the spine, but there was a noticeable gap at one end where I must have done an inadequate job or where the clamp had somehow twisted spine and block apart. My impromptu efforts with the printer paper had worked well enough on one side to prevent overmuch gluing of spine to endpaper, but at the back of the book, the last page tore when I pulled the printer paper away. As the last page in the book is literally the last page *of* the book, this was more of a problem than might be surmised. Still, some Magic Tape and it almost looked as if I hadn't made a big mistake.
I squeezed more PVA onto a makeshift pallette and used a bamboo skewer to put it down into the remaining gap, then squeezed and wiped and squeezed until it looked like the glue would hold on its own. That's drying at the moment. Bamboo skewers are plentiful in this house as husband uses them in his photography. I find them handy for lots of jobs, including getting dough out of the hole in the blade for the breadmaker.
When the glue's dry, I'll probably attempt a bit more gluing at the back to try to improve the appearance. But overall I'm fairly satisfied with the outcome.
And yes, the plank did leave a line across the cover.