Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Project: Elves and Fairies

This is what I call an "educational" project.

A few years ago, a friend of mine asked if I could repair a book she had kept from her childhood. The book, "Elves and Fairies", was a large book filled with color prints that had obviously been a well-loved edition as evidenced by the various repairs to the torn pages and such.

Repairing damaged pages is always a tricky issue - especially when the paper is already starting to show discoloration possibly due to damage due to the paper's natural acidity. So it took me a while to research the best way to both repair and 'clean up' the pages as best I could.
When I was given the book almost all of the page were torn apart. Originally they were gathered into five signatures (which is odd because most books come with even numbers of signatures) but years of flipping through the pages had torn most of them either completely through or had left large tears at the top and bottom of each spine.

Thankfully I was able to find some material that would both repair the spines of the pages, re-attach them to each other and prevent any further damage so that the book could be enjoyed for another generation or two. Additionally, I was able to pull some of the discolorations out of the paper where it had been dyed either through age or acidity.

I now know why book 'restoration' and book 'repair' are widely different concepts and hugely different price ranges.

All that is left for this project is to sew the signatures up and attach a paper spine. Unfortunately there's nothing that I can really do for the damage to the cover boards except add some fore corners to the edge. The large rip (on the front cover, bottom left edge) is something that I tried to see if there was a trick to fixing but I can't find any acceptible solution.

Originally I was going to see if there was a copy of the book's cover as a digital image online. I would print the image and then paste it over the tear to fill in the missing content. Unfortunately I can't find any copy of the book's cover of an appropriate size. Most of the pictures are way too small so that when you increase the size for printing it blurs the image.

I plan to use a black, acid-free paper stock for the spine and the fore corners.
This is a gimp-aided concept of what the back cover will look like with the spine replace and the fore corners added.
Update: 5-8-13

Once finals were over I had time to work on this project again. I've added book cloth to the corners and to the spine and then attached the pages.

After speaking with the client about the large tear on the front they recommended either painting it a complementary shade of blue (to match the background) or to leave it for now until a better solution could be found.

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