Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Five times the fun.

Before and after shots of a group of encyclopedias.

The leather spines were rotting away so I replaced them with a strong, coated bookcloth.
I mounted what was left of the original spine so these volumes would match the rest of the set.







Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Do no harm.


Here is an interesting article on preserving antique books from the Antiques Roadshow website.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What's crusty and yellow and read all over?

There are a number of university scrapbooks that have become unusable in their current brittle condition. This particular volume is from 1936. Notice the overlapping - it is impossible to read the articles without bending/breaking the weak newsprint. This is how we disassemble them in Preservation Services so a digital copy can be produced and saved in the University Archives.
Luckily, the adhesive is water-soluble so we can soak the pages in the sink...
...and then gently lift the clippings off with a metal lifting spatula......and spread them out on blotter paper to dry.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bonefolder, defined.

A bonefolder is a flat piece of polished bone, horn or teflon, usually with one rounded end and one pointed end. This useful tool is used extensively in bookbinding, origami and other papercraft. It is great for folding, scoring, lifting edges and burnishing paper or leather. The photo above shows part of our bonefolder collection in Preservation Services.

The Bonefolder is an amazing, open-access e-journal that deals with bookbinding and bookarts. It is an incredible resource and anyone interested in the field should check it out.

Bonefolder is what we're calling our blog for now. If we think of something we like better we might change it. If you have any suggestions bring 'em on!

What's with the doughnut?

The Jackson Library is home to one of the world's oldest known doughnuts.

In early November, 1980 there was an orientation session held in the Bindery Division (now known as the Preservation Services Dept.) of the Jackson Library. Refreshments consisted of two dozen glazed and cake-type doughnuts as well as coffee with milk and sugar. Some say it was finphobia (a social phobia related to the fear of consuming the last of something) for when the party was over a solitary doughnut was left, coveted by all yet untouched.

Around that same time, the bindery acquired an old stereo radio. The reception was bad in the basement so with the aid of some old picture framing wire and some discarded metal binders, an antennae was rigged up to one of the overhead lights. To complete this montage, the last doughnut was added to one of the metal binders. The college radio station came in loud and clear.

In the months to come other modifications came about - a store-bought antennae and finally in the next year- a ghetto blaster replaced the old stereo. But the Doughnut stayed on. Maybe it was sentimentality or maybe it was pure aesthetic choice in the absence of windows but the Bindery Doughnut hung on the ceiling as a beacon for wandering minds. For five years it dangled from its binder, perfectly preserved by white sugar in a slightly shrunken and crystallized state. One day a student accidentally knocked it from its perch and everyone was astonished when it clinked on the floor like a piece of stoneware. It remained intact except for one small chip.

Today dozens of students, faculty and staff make the pilgrimage into the basement of Jackson Library to see for themselves and pay homage to this mysterious talisman. One has to wonder about the recipe that could preserve such a perishable morsel as a doughnut in such a pristine state for posterity. Only one thing is for certain...no one will ever eat it now!

Three-storey, walk-in bookcase anyone?

Bookstore Selexyz Dominicanen designed by Merkx+Girod architects in Maastricht, Netherlands

These posters know what's up.

Last month we put together an exhibit for one of the display cases in the corridor that connects our library to the student center. It included these posters and a number of books in various states of disrepair.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Berries and bird binding + custom clamshell box = the most adorable book ever.

This cute little volume arrived with a front cover that was completely detached from the rest of the book block. Rice-starch paste and a thin strip of Kozo (handmade paper from Japan) were used to reinforce the interior hinge. I selected a color that would blend well with the original marbled endpapers. Rather than cut the Kozo mending strip I tore it for a smoother transition.
More Kozo was used to build-up and cover the exterior hinge. Watered down acrylic paints and a light coat of wax help to give the paper a leather-like appearance.


For the final step I made a custom clamshell box to protect this rare book. I covered it in espresso and cherry-red bookcloth to match the gorgeous binding.