Tag Archives: spine lining

The New Glue Pot from Lee Valley is Excellent. Gelatin and Paste for Lining Spines

Lee Valley Glue Pot

Lee Valley, perhaps the most innovative large woodworking tool company, recently introduced a one ounce cast stainless steel double boiler glue pot, which is perfectly sized for book conservators.

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.

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  1. Stephen A. Shepherd. Hide Glue: Historical and Practical Applications (Salt Lake CIty: Full Chisel, 2009)
  2. R.M. Dudin. The Art of the Bookbinder and Gilder, Trans. by Richard Macintyre Atkinson (Leeds: The Elmete Press, 1977)

A Hollow Question

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.

hollow2

The movement of the spine would not be significantly changed by the addition of a hollow, since the textblock hinges from the tip of the shoulder. Remember that he significant stiffing caused by the adhesive and paper of the hollow is not addressed here, it also changes the movement, and can be damaging to a fragile covering material or spine linings..

 

hollow2

The movement of the spine would be significantly changed by the addition of a hollow, since the textblock hinges from the base of the shoulder. The changes in movement can cause severe stresses to the covering material and spine lining, possibly resulting in creasing, tearing or even failure. Remember that the stiffing resulting from the hollow can also cause damage by significantly changing the movement. Because of the interaction of the case, spine linings and hinging points, cloth case bindings are sometimes more complex to successfully conserve than leather bindings.

 

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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.”

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Georgia Archives Conservation Lab. Photo Kim Norman.

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!

Day 1: https://quik.gopro.com/v/PNwC9SDNeW/

Day 2: https://quik.gopro.com/v/5v0ARgYFEo/

Day 3: https://quik.gopro.com/v/0Akz24qveU/

Day 4: https://quik.gopro.com/v/1EWV9WiqcD/

Day 5: https://quik.gopro.com/v/hPB5y1FonH/

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.