American Patriots & Statesmen rebind

This rebinding job a great example in showing that no matter how well you take care of a book it doesn't matter if the original binding job was poor to begin with. Case in point, the 5 volume set of American Patriots & Statemen.

The main problem with the original binding is that although they are hardcovers (albeit extremely flimsy ones), they were bound as if they were cheap paperbacks. This means that instead of hinging the spine, the leather was glued directly to the text block.

By doing this, the binder insured that everytime the book was opened, the cover would weaken (You can see in the above pic how there is a crack going down the middle of the book). Since there is no hinge the only thing holding the front and back coveres to the spine is the leather itself. Not the most high quality leather, this "hinge" required no cutting at all when I removed them from the book, just a simple tug. Unfortunately, because the spine was glued to the text block, it didn't come off as easily. First I pulled off some of the larger chunks...

Then very carefully removed the rest until the text block was good and clean...

Here's the pile of spines when I was done with all 5 books...

Out of the 5 books, only one needed re-sewing. Most of the stitching was still intact so a complete re-sew was not necessary, just enough to reconnect the loose signatures...

After attaching new endpapers and rounding &backing, new leather covers were attached and the books were put into the press...

For the completed project, individual labels were created as was a slipcase covered in a very cool paper that mimicked concrete...


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