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Evans's Old Ballads (1777)

Posted: 2017-03-02 20:38

Here I present another antiquarian commission recently completed. A standard leather reback was required for this late 18c. Trade Calf binding. Presenting several areas of damage on the spine, Headcaps and the board corners. Also missing was the Lettering Piece label


In preparation for the repair work an Aniline Fair Calf was selected with slightly oversize, cuttings taken from the stock skin as required for each area of repair. The cuttings were then pared down for working, and subsequently dyed with spirit dyes to match the tone of the existing covering leather. The colour stain is always fixed to the repair leather with a cationic fixative solution before any application for a particular repair process.


The Spine damage is seen here. Evident are the torn and lifted areas with the general dryness causing splitting of the ' outer-joints '.

The delaminating board corners were re-consolidated and then subsequently underlaid with the new repair leather. The previously lifted surrounding leather was then laid down to complete the repairs.

During the original forwarding of the book the spine was rendered with a," one on, one off ", Hollow which facilitated a relatively intact panel when being removed in preparation for subsequent rebacking. The second lining of the Hollow,which is adhered to the underside of the covering leather, forms a strengthening supporting substrate to minimise any possible fragmentation which may occur during the separation and lifting process.

The delaminating underlying Millboard at the damaged corners.

When the leather is aged and weakened difficulties can sometimes arise when attempting to lift this leather on the boards adjacent to the areas of the, ' outer-joints ', and also the inner-margin, ' turn-ins ', and pastesheet when preparing for rebacking. Not only is the leather a potential problem but the brittleness of the marbled paper can also prove troublesome during lifting. Following a prior precautionary ' Spot Test ' to check for any potential permanent staining results; a light coating of SCMC (Sodium Carboxymethlycellulose) solution can be applied to stabilise the paper surface. Thankfully, like the spine panel previously worked upon the lifting of both leather and paper proved to be relatively straightforward.

The hand marbled ' Turkish ' Pattern endpaper.

Following rebacking and the remodelling of the Headcaps, the original spine panel was relaid back down into position and left for 24 hours to dry and settle. A new Burgundy Skiver Lettering Piece label was cut and pared and attached to the spine. The title wording was hand tooled in real Gold using Polymer Heat Set Foil using a 10pt size Times Roman Caps. Font. The final treatments to undertake were a light, dilute soapification wash of the covering leather to remove ingrained dirt and abrasive particulates. Once the leather had throughly dried a deeper cleansing of the leather was carried out with an application of a compound mix of Lanolin, Beeswax and Hexane.

The book post treatment returned to a functional condition.

This single volume was a constituent part of a larger order which also included the rebacking, and refurbishment of a mid 19c. Half Calf Library Binding, and a mid 1930's cloth binding. Please see the following photographs to see the portfolio images of the complete order in their restored condition.




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