Leather Bible Book Binding Repair Restoration Paper Conservation
Leather Bible Book Binding Repair Restoration Paper Conservation    

Restoration of Two Victorian Bibles

The boards were detached, the spine also. Sewing was intact apart from the front seven sections, which had become loose. Endbands were missing but there was evidence of machine made type in use. The bottom board had the brass edgeing and hinged clasps missing, while the upper board still had the brass edging and catches. The surface of the leather is abraded for its age but there were no signs of "red-rot" just normal mecahnical wear. The spine had an "oxford-hollow" lining and false raised bands.

The title page had small damaged piece on the foredge.

Here we see the spine has been cleaned completely inorder to give us a solid and clean base from which we then re-line the spine. This ensures the new linings are attached directly to the spine and there are no old weak linings, that will interfere with the opening.

Once the leather spine was removed from the oxford hollow we needed to clean the inner surface of old linings so we could re-use it. To that end we used a dry paste to soften the linings, however we allowed the moisture to penetrate only the old linings and glue, not the leather. Once done the leather became pliable and reusable.

With the new leather piece tucked under the old leather board sides, new head caps made and the old spine attached, it's time for the bandages. The book is wrapped tight to help the old spine adhere solidly to the new.

Here we can see the new leather spine piece coming over and tucked under the old leather boards. It is done in such a way that the old leather does not lift up or catch when the board is levered to open the book. A small amount of spirit dye was used to take out the worst abraded surfaces and then this was finished with a very thin polish of shellac.

The original endpapers were saved and re-used, as was the original brown coloured linen joints. Underpinning these old linen joints were new cloth joints coloured with acylic colours to match. Small reinforcing was carried out to the endpapers along the edges which had become brittle. 

Just one one of the many attractive and colourful chromo lithograph prints which remain vibrant as they are shielded in the text block.

Restoration of another Victorian Bible

Victorian Bible with only one board dettached, spine complete apart from lower damage, brass ornate corners and claps all complete. Inside in very fine condition. 

Ornate corners and clasps are complete, fully function with slight warping. Deeply imbossed fron cover showing title " THE NATIONAL BIBLE".

Matching piece of goatskin leather is thinned at the right places so that we do not make the repairs clumsy and bulky. However at the board-joint area the leather is left as thick as possible for strength.

The existing board leather is carefully lifted, so the new leather can be inserted under. Notice the board is made from straw.

The spine is being cleaned of all the old linings and glues with the use of wheat starch paste. This is to ensure we have removed the old gelatine glue which has crystallised and become brittle. Our new linings need to go back to the original spine surface to ensure good adhesion with proper flexibility. 

The old split black cloth joints were replaced with archival black dyed linen joints and new archival endpapers.

The old leather spine has been removed and the old linings have been cleaned off to reveal hemp cords used for the false spine bands. This old spine will be placed back onto the new leather spine covering.

New endbands have been glued to the head and tail. Also since the book is very heavy we have glued hemp cords to the spine. These cords will be used to give added strength to the board joints. 

The hemp cords have been frayed and glued down onto the board. Then an oxford hollow (blue) lining has been added on top.

The new leather piece has been pasted onto the book, molded at the head and tail, tied up to form the head and tail caps and left to dry before the original parts are re-attached.

The leather has been tied up to form the head cap.

Finally the cover is renovated.