This article is about a Morocco binding restoration.
This volume bound in full Morocco came in earlier this year. What had been a richly-bound volume in the 1870’s had become dried out and damaged. The hinges had split and the top and bottom of the spine had been rubbed away. The leather, once a deep ruby red, had become faded and powdery. The book’s corners were soft and spongy from years of rough handling.
Rebacking with the original spine re-used
The thickness of the original leather covering enabled me to remove the spine in one piece for re-use. The book was then rebacked with a new spine to match the original covering material. Once the repair had dried, the original spine was prepared and then mounted onto the new spine. This left very little of the new leather visible. Some gold re-tooling was carried out to replace lost areas of decoration at the top and bottom of the spine.
Books bound in Morocco leather often restore well. The natural grain of the leather helps to mask the join between new and old. If a cover has become detached or a hinge is splitting a Morocco binding restoration can resolve the damage.
Consolidating and re-colouring the original leather
The corners were reconsolidated and a paste wash applied to reconsolidate the friable leather covering on the covers. This treatment works particularly well to reinvigorate and refurbish faded Morocco bindings. With a small amount of re-colouring, much of the colour of the original leather was restored. Finally, a preservative leather dressing was applied to the whole binding.