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how to fix a broken book

 
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I'm thinking about fixing this book.



It's missing two pages from the front of the book.  I know this because the first signature (bundles of pages) has two unattached pages at the end of the signature.  The whole filling is detached from the cover and I was wondering how I can attach the cover to the book again.  Any thoughts?
 
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as long as it not rare or worth any money.
I always used a small flat paint brush and white glue for mine when this happens.
 
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Question: do you want it done collector quality or readable?
I tend to repair to readable, I'd use a flexible glue. Me being me, shoe goo is often on my desk. It flexes well, doesn't crack like that.
In the desert air the glue dries out and cracks and you get books that look like that. The less flexible the glue is, the faster it dries out again. I have never had to reglue any book I used shoe goo on.

What book is it? That's not related to repairing it, it's related to me being an old book freak :)
 
r ranson
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The book is from 1946 and is Modern Household Encyclopedia; DeLuxe Edition.  It's in pretty poor shape with a ring from someone's mug on the cover.  As for resale value, I think I would have to pay someone to take it.  But it's a very good reference book for all sorts of information.  I use it quite often.

I would like to repair it in a way that lasts.  Maybe ... what's the word?  Archival?  So that the glue and other repair ingredients don't damage the book over time.  I want it to remain easy to use.

It's not a huge pain having the inside unattached from the outside.  But I imagine it would be fun to learn how to repair a book.

There is a paper that is glued to the inside of the cover and keeps going so that it looks like a blank page at the front and back of the book.  This paper is still here which complicates my idea of how I would repair it.  But maybe this makes things easier?  
 
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raven ranson wrote:
It's not a huge pain having the inside unattached from the outside.  But I imagine it would be fun to learn how to repair a book.



It's also a very permie-friendly, great & marketable skill to have!  (Plus, if 'TEOTWAWKI' ever really does happen, you'd be a highly prized resource, in your community, especially as the books people hold dear begin falling apart.)
 
r ranson
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I found the title page nestled in the book.  That leaves only one page missing.  

 
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I spent 4 years running a library in an elementary school. Book glue and book repair tape (both the clear kind and the fabric kind) will repair the book well and not damage the book with time. There are some good videos on YouTube (Demco makes several good ones) that show how to repair broken spines/hinges, even if you use products that are different. Whole not the most permie products ever, they are effective! Even if you choose to use less gicky materials, the technique shown is solid.
 
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Oh yay! A topic I actually know something about! My day job is as a rare books librarian, and while working on my MLIS degree, my student job was in a library conservation lab repairing books very much like this one. That said, I am *not* a trained conservator, and that student job was 12+ years ago, so please apply your own good judgment to any or all of the following suggestions.

As other posters have already said, the first thing you need to do is decide what type of repair you want and what your budget is in terms of time and money. Do you want something cheap and easy? Or something that will last for several decades?

"Archival" tape will bring the book back to a usable state with a minimum of effort and expense, but will eventually cause damage to it. That damage will happen much more slowly than if you used normal tape, but with any kind of tape, the adhesive will eventually fail and in the meantime the tape will make the paper stiffer, with a hard edge where the tape ends. The paper will crease and eventually tear along that hard edge of the tape. That may take a decade or two, which may be good enough for your purposes, but if you're really talking about "archival" repair, you're thinking in terms of lasting 50-100 years or more. (I put "archival" in quotes because there is no industry standard for what makes a product or a process archival. More specific terms to look for on "archival" products are acid-free, lignin-free, pH-neutral, or in some cases pH-buffered.)

If you opt for a repair that involves glue, as Pearl Sutton said earlier, you want something that will stay flexible over time. Ideally, it will also be pH neutral. In the conservation lab, we used PVA. If you can't find any locally, libraries tend to order from suppliers like University Products, Gaylord, Demco, and Hollinger Metal Edge (in the USA) and Gresswell and PEL (in the UK).

If you're reasonably crafty, you could do a hinge repair something like what's shown in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9O5XF91kDC8

There are, of course, much more involved repairs that could be done, but this seems like it would be relatively sturdy and requires a minimum of special tools and equipment. The one modification/addition I might make is to tear a narrow strip of Japanese paper (which has longer fibers than Western-style papers and leaves a very feathered edge when torn) and using it to reinforce the repair on the inside of the book and cover any gap that may show where the cloth hinge has been inserted. To attach the strip of paper, I would use something like a wheat or rice starch paste instead of PVA. To do this, you would follow a process very much like what's shown in this video from about the 3:00 mark onward, except attaching the strip of paper to the pages that are still attached to the book, instead of loose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN8vh-i2Y4Q

The feathered edge of the torn Japanese paper alleviates the problem of the pages cracking along the hard edge of the repair, like with archival tape. A starch paste won't be as strong as PVA, but that can sometimes be a good thing, because it's better for the adhesive to fail than for the adhesive to be so strong that it causes other parts of the book to break. Unlike PVA, a repair done with starch paste can also be removed by carefully rehydrating the paste.

To tear a neat strip of Japanese paper, you need to weaken the paper in a straight line somehow. For a very feathered tear, you can use a water brush (or a narrow paintbrush and some water) to wet the paper in a neat line along a straight edge and then gently pull the paper apart along the line, like in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUqkPlKo3EU. Alternatively, you can fold and crease the paper and then tear it carefully along the fold. Or you can use a bone folder or the blunt back edge of your knife to score the paper and then tear along the scored line. These options tend to cut at least some of the fibers though, resulting in a less feathered edge.

If you want to replace the missing pages, you can try to track down another copy via interlibrary loan (you can search for library copies worldwide via www.worldcat.org) and request photocopies or scans of the missing pages. Then you can trim the copied pages to the same size as the rest of the book and then tip them in. (video tutorial here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvTK8tUCcmA)

I hope this helps!
 
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This is one of the things I learned while pursuing print finishing as a job.

Archival quality restoration is often unnecessary as long as you aren't using materials that aren't overly corrosive to themselves or other parts over time. One easy example of this would be backing boards and plastic for things like comic books and magasines, but Christine's observations about what even archival or bookbinding tape does to paper is spot-on.

I think flexible glues are better than inflexible ones. I would actually use a polyurethane reactive glue (PUR) rather than EVA, though EVA was the standard until they perfected safe binding systems and formulations that don't require personal ventilation. I don't think a hot glue gun is the best solution. The flexible gorilla glue sounds closest to PUR, which cures in conjunction with the moisture in the air and stays almost rubbery.

Understanding the structure of the book is key. The cover of a hardcover book isn't attached directly to the spine of the book block, which is either the jogged stack of cut sheets to whose spine edge you will be applying glue, or the collections of signatures. Generally, I like to basically shore up the guts of the book as its own book block, and then attach that whole and integral structural unit to the case.

I have actually disassembled signatures to fix a disintegrating section. I literally mounted fluttery, fall-apart old pages onto a signature-sized sheet of japanese paper, adhered them with a flour paste, and reassembled the signature, sewing included.

I then added new endpapers, which are folded pieces of paper bound into the book block on the outside of the signatures, to which the cover is glued. In that case, because I had already had to re-stitch the disassembled signature, I just stitched them in on either side before gluing a strip of cloth on the spine.

I am also not a trained conservator, but am quite practiced in book repair. When adequate care is taken, the only real barriers are those defined by cheap initial production.

-CK
 
Chris Kott
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Sorry, Raven. I didn't answer you directly.

It looks like that book was assembled using EVA glue in a traditional fashion. I believe the part of the cover you've shown in the picture indicates that the endpaper on that side came unglued from the book block and stayed attached to the cover.

You could carefully disassemble the signature in question, add two paper spine strips, and then tab onto those the lost pages, with the spine strips attaching the lost front pages to the integral back ones, hand-sewing the signature again when done. You would then want to sew in or tab on endpapers, though I would sew if you've already got the kit out, glue a suitable strip of cloth to the spine (with enough wrap to overlap onto front and back by about an inch), and then glue the outer pages of the endpapers, along with the overlapping cloth of the spine strip, to the original cover.

EDIT: I just want to stress again that the spine of the cover doesn't get glued to the spine of the book block. The spine strip glued to the book block remains free of adhesive, so that the cover and book block can move independently when necessary for the book to open fully.

EVA should still be flexible enough for this application. The really stretchy stuff is great in a pinch, and I think that if the formulations age well, it could mean great things for the archiving of books, but where they're necessary is for binding digitally-printed media. Binding the cut edge of a stack requires more of the glue than a system that relies primarily on the structure of folded paper and stitching.

Incidentally, I know people who are making short-run quantities of handmade books using flour paste as their only adhesive. That type of binding relies much more on traditional folded and sewn book structures, but it can still do the job. It will just be more sensitive to fluctuations in temperature, humidity, and wear over time.

Good luck, though. Let us know how it all turns out.

-CK
 
r ranson
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For some reason, I was wondering if hide glue would work.  

I'm also curious, what glues for books, were available at the end of the second world wark.  Just idle curiosity.  I'll probably go with modern glue for best results.
 
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This topic is great, I will try to get some of the flexible glue. I have a number of old book, the oldest is a family bible from 1840, which looks in the same shape of your book Raven. Mind you I am not Christian, but it is an interesting book to have around for those who are, and the family history is something I cherish.
 
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