Lately I’ve started looking into bookbinding, and apparently a large part of being a proper bookbinder is being at least a little bit pro at restoration as well.
Today I started a restoration on an old book I’ve been holding onto since college. The Liddell-Scott Greek-English Lexicon has been the go-to reference book for Classicists for decades–in short, it’s a beast. Even my version, the intermediate option, is incredibly comprehensive. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to use it much while I was studying Ancient Greek in school, since the book was in such bad shape: the pages are so brittle they tear if turned without extreme care, the cloth of the cover was frayed and splitting at the corners, and the leather bits had cracked and mostly flaked off. Even the original gold-flake lettering was almost gone. The spine had a rubbish patch job probably about forty years ago–the book itself is over a hundred years old, so the over-layering of glue and a long strip of what looks like primitive duct tape did little to clean it up, and in the long run probably only made it worse.
So today, I took it apart. The pictures below show the progress. The book is close to a thousand pages long, with eight-page signatures. I managed to scrape the worst of the cracked gluey junk off the edges of the signatures where they were joined to the spine (with no cloth or paper backing for support >.<)–I’m happy to say that the only signatures that came out rough were those already worn down, the two closest to the front and back that had taken the most abuse from the years of opening and closing the book. I may be able to salvage those with page-mending tape for re-sewing later, but even if I can’t, two signatures out of 114 isn’t bad.
Just look at those clean pages! ❤