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Topic: My first attempt at restoring a book from the late 1800s  (Read 4214 times)
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BananaAmbush
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« on: June 03, 2013 03:40:08 PM »

I love books from the late 1800s and early 1900s, so I decided to teach myself how to repair and restore them! I definitely have a lot to learn, but I'm fairly satisfied with my first attempt.

Here's the book in the condition in which it arrived. As you can see, it needs a lot of TLC.



Here are the detached covers:



The original endbands attempt to escape the horror that is the text block. The block itself was in great condition, though; score!



All four corners were busted like this:



The bottom of the spine was super raggedy, and the spine itself was almost detached from the covers in many places.



Very cool inscriptions on the first page. The oldest one is from 1900; the newest one is from 1909.



So after hours of work, here is the finished product:



I ended up repainting everything because the cover illustrations were so faded:





A quarter for size comparison. I tried to remain as faithful as possible to the original illustration, which was hard when the printed marks were so tiny!



Sometimes it was impossible to stick to the original. The bottom of the spine was so faded that I had to make a lot of this up.



The new inside, bound nice and tight!



Don't worry; I kept the inscriptions:



The new headbands are black and blue instead of white and blue. This is the only area where you can see my new spine showing through. I'll have to cover it up better next time.



All finished; tight binding and lovely text/illustrations!



I didn't take any in-progress shots (I'll have to do it next time!) but if you'd like to do something similar to a book of your own, I'd highly highly recommend http://www.indiana.edu/~libpres/manual/mantoc.html and http://www.youtube.com/user/DIYbookrepair.

Now, I have some questions for the good people of craftster: I used regular acrylic paint to repaint this; is there a better choice? And is there some sort of sealant or lacquer that I could use to seal the covers so the paint doesn't chip or get damaged? Thanks so much!
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2013 04:12:38 PM »

That is shockingly good!  I had no idea a book so badly damaged could be repaired like that.  Great work!
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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2013 04:23:18 PM »

wow! that is awesomely impressive! really great work!
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2013 04:30:09 PM »

A fabulous job!
There are a couple of good articles at the Golden site (acrylic paints I like very much) about varnish. They have one that is good with uv and also flexible, so might be good for all the handling books get.
It's also removable, so if your book gets grimy, you can remove the old grungy varnish and apply a new coat.
here is the link;

http://www.goldenpaints.com/technicaldata/msavar.php
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013 04:56:11 PM by cackle » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2013 04:52:31 PM »

Beautiful job!   Smiley

(just a general note to mention that restoration like this may affect the value of the book as an antique)
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013 04:55:44 PM by Ludi » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013 05:10:14 PM »

Looks great! You did an amazing job.
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2013 05:28:30 PM »

I was lucky enough to watch much of this work in progress. The book looks wonderful!

So, BananaAmbush, how many hours do you estimate it took you from start to finish? 
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BananaAmbush
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2013 05:38:28 PM »

Thanks, guys!

A fabulous job!
There are a couple of good articles at the Golden site (acrylic paints I like very much) about varnish. They have one that is good with uv and also flexible, so might be good for all the handling books get.
It's also removable, so if your book gets grimy, you can remove the old grungy varnish and apply a new coat.
here is the link;

http://www.goldenpaints.com/technicaldata/msavar.php

Oooh, I'll have to check that out! I wonder if it's at my local craft store. Luckily, I have some crappy thrift store books I can test it out on first  Cheesy Thanks for the suggestion!

I was lucky enough to watch much of this work in progress. The book looks wonderful!

So, BananaAmbush, how many hours do you estimate it took you from start to finish?  

Aww, thankya. I have no idea how long it took, but I've probably been working on it for 4-5 hours a day for the last week. Yowza!
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013 05:48:52 PM by BananaAmbush » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2013 08:01:03 PM »

This is such a special project. I love the new life you gave this book. You can tell that you honored the design and craftsmanship that the original bookmaker intended. Beautiful job!
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2013 01:01:40 AM »

This is absolutely wonderful - I love how you restored the old cover, it is so pretty! And makes me want to try to restore all my old books that are falling apart.  Grin
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