Brazil Cloth Binding1 Brazil Cloth Binding2 Brazil Cloth Binding3 China Cloth Binding1 China Cloth Binding3 Clerkenwell Cloth Binding

Sometimes, the binding or 'case' of a cloth bound book simply becomes detached from the text block as one piece. This is not uncommon when the book has been dropped and has caught an edge or corner when landing. In this instance, it is possible to re-line the spine of the text block and attach a new strip of 'mull', the invisible cloth material that joins the binding to the text block beneath the endpapers and 're-case' the binding back into the text block. This process generally requires that the original endpapers are replaced with new ones, which are chosen to be as close a match as possible, to the originals.

China Cloth Binding2

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Cloth bound books are often more durable than those bound in leather, but can sustain similar damage with years of wear. Hinges can split, resulting in one or both covers becoming detached and when the covers detach, the spine often comes away too. If it remains attached to one of the covers, it often starts to fray at the torn edge . Spines can also become frayed and torn at the top where the book is often grasped to pull it from a bookshelf and the bottom where it becomes worn by being pushed back into a bookshelf.

As with leather bindings, this kind of damage can be remedied by a process known as 'rebacking'. The original spine is removed from the binding (if it is not already detached), the cloth covering on the covers is lifted along the line of the hinges and a new piece of cloth is inserted to create a new spine. The original spine is then pasted down onto the new one, with the new cloth only visible along a thin line at the hinges and anywhere where areas of the original spine are missing.

The inside (paper) hinges are then replaced with a strip of paper chosen to closely match the original endpaper and the edges and corners of the binding if frayed or rubbed, are reconsolidated to provide a hard and durable finish.

Due to the constraints of the 'grain' and limited colour ranges of bookcloths currently available, it is a little harder to effect aesthetically unobtrusive repairs to cloth bound books, but the process can greatly enhance the visual effect of an otherwise 'tatty' looking book whilst offering a high degree of longterm structural integrity.

These examples show 'before' and 'after' images of the process outlined above.
The images can be clicked to show larger versions.

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