Posted by: kbenoy | November 28, 2012

Mander Ledger: Conservation 3

This week I’m going to complete the story of the conservation of the Samuel Small Mander Trustees Ledger from 1881 continuing from my previous two posts (here) and (here). Last week we saw Jon rebind the volume and prepare the text block ready for its new cover.

Trimming the end papers

The first stage was to trim the new end papers to the size of the book. It is easier to make the end papers larger and to trim them down to size once they have been sewn in place.

Gluing the Spine

The spine of the book was then glued to hold the sections together.

Gluing the tapes to the end papers

The loose ends of the tapes were glued to the outside of the end papers.

Spine and tapes covered with linen

The spine and end tapes were then covered with a piece of linen that stuck to the glue on the spine and this was left to dry.

Cutting out the new boards

The next job was to make the new boards for the cover of the book. Where possible Jon will reuse the original boards but in this case they were too rotten. The boards were cut just larger than the text block so they would protect the edges of the pages.

Cutting out the new covers out of book cloth

Black book cloth was then cut out to start making the case for the book and was roughly measured using the boards.

Working out the amount of book cloth required for the spine

The next step was to stick the boards to the book cloth to make the cover of the book. To get the spacing right for the spine of the book between the two boards, Jon glued one board to the book cloth and placed the text block on top. He then glued the second board and placed it glue side up on top of the text block. This allowed him to fold the book cloth over and stick it to the cloth, while leaving exactly the right amount of space for the spine.

The case

The spine was made up of a piece of light card covered with paper. When the glued paper dries it contracts, causing the card in the spine to curve. The book cloth was then trimmed and stuck down to finish the case.

The book in the press

To attach the text block to the case, the outer end papers were glued to the boards of the case, leaving the spine free to move within the case. The complete volume was put in the press and left for two days to allow it to dry flat.

Attaching the original leather cover to the new covers

The final stage was to salvage what was left of the original cover and glue it to the outside of the repaired volume to show what the book looked like before the work was carried out.  

The finished volume

This image shows the inside of the finished volume with the new end papers and the original pages. This volume will now be accessible and usable by the public once the catalogue is completed later this month.

Before and After

The image above shows the volume before and after conservation work.

I would like to thank Jon, the Conservator for his hard work in putting these volumes back together and making them usable. I would also like to thank the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust for their funding, which allowed this work to go ahead and has helped to improve access to much of the Smith, Son & Wilkie collection.

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