The Gently Mad - Bookbinder and Bookseller

Examples of work


The image on the right shows a copy of J. P. MacLean's The History of the Clan MacClean half-way through the spine restoration stage.

When the book arrived at our bindery it was in need of some care and attention. The text block was in good, clean condition but the leather spine, which was in two pieces, had come away from the book and the leather was very faded and powdery-dry.

It was decided that the book should have its spine cleaned, glued and lined before being rebacked (new leather spine inserted)
, afterwhich the original leather spine was replaced, stained, consolidated and then finally polished.

Cost to the customer - £85.00
book restoration

Corner and spine restoration
book repair
The book above was looking rather sad when it arrived - its leather corners were very worn with the surface of the leather coming away in places - the leather to the spine was dry and faded. Natural leather was stained to match the original leather and new corners made to replace the damaged ones, then gilt decoration added to match the original look. The spine was also stained, then consolidated before the book was finally polished.

Cost to the customer - £80.00

half leather binding with marble sides
Half leather binding

The image on the left is a copy of Baines' Explorations in South-West Africa rebound in half-leather with marble sides and gilt and blind tooling.

The book arrived with its original cloth case seperated from the book and so badly stained that it was decided to give the book a complete rebind.

The customer chose a brown morocco leather with marble sides, gold tooling round the raised bands and a black title label.

Cost to the customer - £105.00

Cloth rebacking and restoration

three volumes that have been rebacked and restored

The above books arrived with the spines hanging off having split down the spine edges - the corners were worn through so that the boards were exposed and the cloth had faded in places as a result of being left exposed to direct sunlight - the text blocks had become completely detached from the cases . . . a sorry sight indeed!

The remedy

The obvious remedy was to reback the books (insert new cloth spines), build and sharpen the corners, reset the spines of the text blocks and then finally recasing.,

First the spines were completely cut away from the boards and laid aside for later

The cloth on all boards was then lifted back an inch to expose the board underneath - the cloth at the turn-in was also lifted back an inch.

Using cloth the same colour as the original, new spines and spine hollows were made and inserted under the cloth that had been lifted back.

The corners were then build up and sharpened before new corner cloth was inserted underneath the original cloth.

All three case were then restained using aniline dye, carefully avoiding the gold titles and decoration - then all three cases were given a paste-wash, left to dry before being buffed.

The text blocks had their original spine lining removed and were then reset in the nipping press before being glued and lined with mull and kraft paper.

The text blocks were then cased-in and the original spines accurately laid on to the new cloth spines and left to dry - the spines were then restained, paste-washed and then buffed up..

Finally the book were stacked and pressed in the nipping press for three days..

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