It works great with gelatin in conservation work or with hide glues for historic models. The heavy cast steel double boiler gives a very gentle and even heat. It is based on a Landers, Frary & Clark glue pot from the 1870’s. There is an image of the original, which was cast iron, in Stephen Shepherd’s hide glue book. (1)
The cup-warmer is cheaply made, but it only costs a dollar when purchased with the gluepot. If the interior of the pot was finished a little smoother to make cleaning easier, it would be perfect. A steal at $35.00.
Arthur Green described his investigations using gelatin on the spines of books in the blog post, “Revisiting Animal Glue: Gluing-up with Gelatin” Traditionally bound books used animal glue on the spines, and paste for the covering and paste-downs: there must have been a reason. He tested starch paste and gelatin separately, and primarily for adhesion.
I find the real magic happens when gelatin and paste are used in sequential layers, or mixed together. Dudin, in the 18th century, described the “marriage” that happens between animal glue and paste. (2) A mix gives the book better resistance to torquing than paste alone, makes it feel more solid, and gives a more secure — yet still easily reversible — bond with a Japanese tissue for the first spine lining in conservation work.
Adding a hollow (aka. Oxford hollow, tube) is often used to repair books that originally had a hollow, which makes sense. What makes less sense is using it on books that originally had a natural hollow, like case bindings. It adds at least three layers of paper, and only adds the strength of one thickness of paper. Admittedly, a strong sheet of handmade paper can be incredibly strong. Adding a hollow can dramatically change the opening, sometimes in unexpected ways. Often other hinging options with airplane cotton, linen or stout tissue are preferable. Adding a hollow is best suited to a quick and fast repair of circulating collections, or on relatively recent bindings with strong covering cloth. There are times when it should not be used.
This was one of the complexities we investigated in the recent workshop I taught at the Georgia Archives in Atlanta October 24-28, “Cloth Case Bindings: Their History and Repair.”
Click on the links to see a slide show of images from each day. Images courtesy Kim Norman, Preservation Manager and Conservator, Georgia Archives. Thanks for hosting, Kim!
There is talk of scheduling a complementary workshop in October 2017 at the same venue, dealing with rebacking, board attachment and repair of 19th century leather bindings. This would include leather paring with English and French knives, spokeshaves and the Scharffix paring machine, as well as methods of consolidating and dying leather. Check this blog for more info as it becomes available.