[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Or, oh fuck, my books are falling apart.

Surgery was recently performed on Super Barbarians by John Brunner, which came home from the antique fair in a sorry state, and is now sitting on the bookshelf in a slightly less sorry state.

It's been taped and glued. In fact, glued twice. After I fixed the book block at the top I discovered it was also peeling at the bottom. All I really wanted to achieve was a book that would survive being read. Time will tell on that point, I guess.

I also did some taping today on the dustjacket to Destination: Disaster by the Sunday Times Insight Team, written back in the days when the ST actually did real journalism. Don't know when or how it happened, but the dj was torn right across the spine. Annoying. It's not a valuable book but it is one of which I'm fond.

Also discovered that I have two copies of In Search of the Edge of Time by John Gribbin, one mmp and one trade paperback. Dunno how THAT happened.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Downbelow Station.

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.

Not complaining.

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.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
I have investigated the results of my PVA adventures. The second copy of Connoisseur's Science Fiction is definitely stuck back together. The second page in the block is stuck a bit too much, and there's still a gap between the two halves of the block, but it's readable, with care.

The half-torn bit of spine on the first copy has decided to stay in place after all, so the repair can now proceed. I think it's going to be a two-part job. First, stick the torn bit of spine back to the other half of the block. And secondly, secure the rest of the block to the spine with tape. There's no way to glue that part. In fact, I may end up using tape all the way down.

(I have previously found family members using my Magic Tape as if it were ordinary sticky tape, despite my attempts to hide it)

On second thoughts, seems like the best thing to do would be to tape the top part, thereby giving a way to hold the book together while the glue dries. But I think only tape is going to keep it in one piece.

Later: The glue dried, and I went all down the spine sticking it to the rest of the book with little bits of Magic Tape. Not a perfect job--there are visible gaps when you open the book, as in some places it's too stuck and in others not stuck enough. If I were putting it up for sale I'd probably have to list it as: Poor--Book is held together with PVA and Magic Tape. But it's good enough to go back on the shelf.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
No, this isn't a polemic on the virtues of ebooks :). Honestly! I could point out some of their disadvantages, but I won't do that, either.

What I want to talk about is book repair. What do you do when your print book loses pages, or its cover, or simply falls apart?

Usually what I do is ask Monissaw, as she's done a course on repairing books. Which is more than I have. I have some of the essentials of the book-repairer's toolkit, ie Magic Tape and PVA glue. Admittedly, I've only had the glue since yesterday. I got it in Ryman's while buying a laundry marker. By the way, if anyone's seen my shiny new not-even-taken-out-of-its-packet-yet laundry marker, please let me know where it's got to. I suspect feline involvement.


As I commented in an earlier post, my copy of Connoisseur's Science Fiction (by Men) fell into two pieces in the course of a reread. The spine tore away from the block, leaving the book halved. As I also noted, I have a second copy. Before determining whether the first copy should be mended or recycled, I found the second copy. Ironically, that also stood in need of repair, although its need wasn't as great as the first copy. Part of the block had simply pulled away from the spine, but the book was still in one piece.

In the event, I decided to repair both, if only for the practice. After all, that way there was a good chance I'd end up with one readable copy. Right?

What I don't have, unfortunately, is any way of compressing the block against the spine while the glue dries. Hence it's likely further repairs will be required, should the books ever be read again. And reading them again is, after all, the point.

The glue I bought didn't come with a brush or indeed any kind of applicator, so I filched a bamboo skewer from my husband's massive collection and used that to apply glue along the edge of the block of the second copy. Then mashed the block back up against the spine. The book won't be as good as new, but maybe it'll be readable once it dries. Maybe?

The first book will be more difficult. I've tried to stick down some of the loose bits of spine, but they only pop up again as I have nothing to make them stay in place. Maybe tape would be the better option.

I wouldn't even be bothering if these books were still in print. Or would I? Hard to say.


The Little Dog Laughed

January 2019

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