I recently completed a fairly extensive restoration of a book which was in pretty bad condition. The cover had come off, the spine was gone and quite a number of the pages were loose and torn.
Here are some photos of what it looked like “before”:
I took the book apart and carefully removed quite a lot of sellotape. This is one of a book restorer’s worst enemies and should never be used to repair books as it colours the paper and leaves a horrible gluey substance behind that has to be chemically dissolved and carefully scraped away.
I then washed the pages. I normally avoid chemical bleaching, but washing in ordinary water can help to not only clean the paper, but also to remove the acid that has built up in it.
The next step was mending the torn pages with Japanese paper. The outer pages of most of the signatures or sections of the book had torn in two and so these had to be reattached using Japanese paper if I was to be able to restitch the book.
The leaves were then refolded, arranged in their signatures and placed in the press before being restitched.
The book block was then given new end pages, glued, given a hollow and a new spine was made. I realise now that I should have taken more photos at this point, but such is life.
The new spine was attached, the cover boards were mended as far as possible while keeping the look of the original book, and were attached and glued down.