Fine Bookbinding & Book Restoration
copyright © Andrew Sims 2014
There are occasions when retention of as much as possible of the original binding is of paramount importance, and anything less may seriously devalue such a book.
Most commonly, original bindings split at the joints where the boards are attached to the spine, with boards and/or spine becoming completely detached. The solution, known as re-backing, involves removal of the old spine, and application of new spine material which extends onto the boards, going underneath the old material on the boards. If the old spine is intact it can often be replaced on top of the new material. Alternatively the new spine is tooled in a fashion sympathetic to the original. When executed well, the repair is often imperceptible.
The photos below illustrate a typical leather reback. See the Gallery for other examples of restoration work.
With the replacement spine leather in place and dried, the original decorated spine has been carefully remounted.
The original spine has been removed, and leather sides lifted from the boards, ready to accept the newly stained and pared replacement leather, seen in the foreground…