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Repairing a Book's Binding

Category Books
Whether an old and prized hardcover book or a inexpensive paperback, books occasionally need to have the binding repaired or replaced. This is a guide about repairing a book's binding.
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September 9, 2011

First of all NEVER use tape to repair a book. Tape does not age well. It becomes brittle, yellow, leaves a deep stain on the paper, and often the paper gets torn at the edge of the tape. The best way is to buy a white paper, called "Japanese paper" - because it is thin and strong.

Cut some strips one inch wide and as long as the book's page. Use white glue, the very common one which can be thinned with water. Spread glue on the strip of paper with a paint brush (1/2 inch wide). Use a very thin coat of glue (thinned with a little water if glue is too "sticky") and use it as you would use tape.

This is the simplest way to repair a book but it all depends on how much the book is damaged. It would take a whole book to explain in detail how to do this, from the first step to the last one, as all of this is part of book binding.

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By Olga from Miallet, France

Comment Was this helpful? 9

February 26, 2013

I took pity on an old book that I had ordered from the downtown library and glued the binding of the spine back on (so it wouldn't come off while I was reading it!). Glue sticks are great for that job - also works to glue paperbacks back into their spines - all without mess.

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Questions

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July 2, 20100 found this helpful

Where can I get the cover to an old family bible rebound. The front cover is cracked on the edge and is falling off. I would like to repair it correctly instead of just taping it.

By RocknChr from Ord, NE

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Answers

July 2, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Repairing a broken book binding is fairly easy, although please check that you are not damaging a first edition.

Valuable books should be repaired by a professional.

Before you decide which method to use you need to examine the book. Hold the book open with the hinge facing you. If the end papers are still attached to the text block you can do a simple repair to tighten the hinge.

Tools for the job:

PVA glue
A metal rod or knitting needle
Waxed paper
A book press or heavy object.

Method:

Stand the book on end, holding it open. Dip the metal rod/ knitting needle in the glue and push the rod down each side of the hinge. Twist the rod so the glue spreads evenly. Now turn the book over and repeat the process.

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Insert the waxed paper inside the end pages to stop any excess glue from sticking to the pages and place in the book press or put a heavy object on top of the book. Leave it over night to allow the glue to dry.

For less valuable books you can simply use cellotape but this does tend to form a lump and will stop the book from closing properly.

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