Conservation Tools at the 2019 AIC Annual Meeting, May 14 – 18, 2019.

Some tools popular with book and paper conservators.

I’ll be attending the annual AIC (American Institute of Conservation) meeting at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.  If you are interested in taking a look at any of the conservation and bookbinding tools I make, please let me know and I’ll bring some examples.  I will be there May 14 — 18.

Some items popular with book and paper conservators include: the modified 151 spokeshave for paring leather (top), 2-inch triangle and bookbinder’s pliers (middle), and (l – r) A2 leather Swiss style knife, 8 inch Delrin lifter, Delrin folder, Delrin hera, and the set of lifting knives.

Contact me to arrange a meeting, or look for me at a low stakes Blackjack table.

New Tool! Rectangular Baren


Around a year ago, I had a couple of really large boxes to make — around 22 x 30 inches — and quickly grew tired of holding my folder when smoothing the cloth. I tried using a printmakers baren, but the round shape felt awkward for bookbinding. Then a few weeks ago, while poking around an antique mall, I picked up an antique chalkboard eraser, found the ergonomics of it appealing, and realized with a Delrin sole and wood handle, a similar tool could be great for smoothing and adhering large pieces of paper and cloth to bookboard. The rectangular baren was born.

The size is comfortable to hold with one hand or two, and it is thick enough to hold without running your fingers into the work. Perfect for big projects, edition binding, paper conservation, or for anyone who finds gripping small folders difficult. The Delrin sole is non-marking,  .75” thick, has rounded edges, and there is a recessed finger gripping area. The tool has a pleasing heft. This first batch has apple wood handles, which are silky smooth. Approximately 6.5 x 2.5 x 1.75”.

Purchase the Rectangular Baren at Peachey Tools




Peachey Tools in May 2018 National Geographic

National Geographic, May 2018. “Explore” section.

The May 2018 National Geographic Magazine “Explore” section has a gorgeous two page spread of Yasmeen Kahn’s book conservation tools. Kahn is a rare book conservator at the Library of Congress. Both my  A2 leather handle paring knife  (#10) and  two inch brass triangle (#5) are included!

Many of her tools are quite interesting. She mentions the unusually shaped bamboo tool (#7) is useful for cleaning spines. Was it originally intended to be some kind of pen? I can easily imagine how the chunk of Lapis Lazuli (#2) would fit into my hand for burnishing. This also explains why the majority of Islamic manuscripts at LC have blue streaks on the repair paper (just kidding!!!). She made a very nice looking paring knife out of a hacksaw blade (#10). I’m really into this hybrid blade shape.

Depicting tools out of their working context by carefully arranging them emphasizes their aesthetic qualities. This begins ca. 1690 in bookbinding with the engravings that ended up in Dudin’s Art du Relieur. Some of my own tool collection hangs on a wall in my studio, again, for the aesthetics. But they are easily removable in case duty calls, mounted with magnets or between finishing nails.

Can you identify these tools? Hint: most are not bookbinding tools, and I won’t argue if someone opines #1 is not technically a tool.
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