This article details the repalcement of an old leather spine repair. The old repair had failed and the book required a new spine. This was tooled in gold in a style contemporary with the leather-bound covers.
I completed the 1575 Caesar’s Commentaries some time ago, but haven’t got around to posting an update on the job. As expected, the fact that the leather on the covers had been lifted once already, proved challenging!
Problems in repairing an old leather spine repair
I managed to lift the leather again, keeping most of it intact. I then removed the remains of the older repair from the boards and spine. However, the original leather covering wasn’t going to go back down cleanly having already been lifted and pasted once before. Nevertheless, I did manage to paste it back down reasonably cleanly considering the previous repair.
Tooling the new spine
I then set to researching and designing a spine that I felt was in keeping with the early 19th century diced calf boards. After looking at a few online examples, I came up with the design shown below. It was much more in keeping with the diced calf boards than the unsympathetic spine that had been applied previously. All in all, a much more appropriate-looking leather spine repair.
Marbled endpaper repair
Luckily I had a near-perfect match for the marbled endpapers amongst my stock of old paper. As a result, I was able to repair the inside hinge fairly unobtrusively. The photos below show the book after repair, looking in a much better condition than when it arrived. Considering that it had already been repaired once in its life, the results were better than expected. Pictures of its condition before repair are shown in my previous post.
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