Vanity Fair (To bind or not to rebind)

I was in a bookstore a few months ago (natch) and stumbled across a Limited Editions Club copy of Vanity Fair. At first I was ecstatic but became much less so after noticing the condition. Seeing has how this isn't one of the more valuable LEC books and the cost of rebinding would put it up there with purchasing a near fine copy, I put it as a loss and moved on. Subsequently, every time I visited this store, Vanity fair still sat there on the shelf. I realized it was never going to sell. How could it? Look at it...

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For Heaven's sake, the spine on Vol.2 had almost completely fell off (it actually did by the time I took the photo) and the covered paper was shredding off the edges and corners from mishandling, probably having to do with the fact that it's original, protective slipcase was missing. And that's a shame because like all LEC's the book itself is a work of art. The hand made paper is gloriously thick and still bright white. The letter press printing is a marvel to look at, not to mention the illustrations are fantastic. In a world where books are printed by the millions and bargain bin trash is used for land fills, I just couldn't allow an edition limited to 1500 copies go to waste (even if the previous owner had). I decided to do a rebind regardless of value increase simply because the book deserved it (and I could experiment with some fun ideas!).

First I removed the binding, endpapers, and spine. After carefully removing all the old glue and super from the spine I wasn't shocked in the least to find perfect craftsmanship in the sewing of the text block (no re-sewing necessary here!).

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A new hinge was attached along with endpapers...

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Next, I wanted to experiment a little with the spine. Most LEC titles use a label on their spines for the book title which is easy to replicate. This volume instead foil stamped the title across the entire spine. I had been wanting to try an embossed spine for a while and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Using the original spine I made a stencil by cutting out the letters...

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I then attached the leather and got to embossing...

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Here's a pic of the completed spines...

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And here they are in their new, two tone slipcase...

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And a few more of the finished project...

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