Passing the Torch

It’s been several years since I’ve been able to dedicate any time to book repair. I did not want to officially shut down Bay Area Book Repair so this site has lingered, tempting and frustrating many repair-seekers.
Happily, Vanessa Hardy will be taking over the business in the summer of 2021. She has years of experience in conservation and is well prepared to take on an even wider range of repair work than I was able to. I’m just thrilled to carry on the tradition of handing this business to yet another wonderful bookbinder.
It’s been a pleasure getting to know you and your beloved books. Thank you for supporting your local bookbinder!

Birthday Book

This sweet little book offers a short, very Romantic poem for every day of the year, so that one can record friends’ birthdays and read them flattering verses on their special day, or judge oneself for having a depressing one. Mine was rather dismal. I did not photograph it.

It had been through quite a lot, with water damage, warped boards, and a completely detached and disintegrating binding. Happily, the titling remained nice and bright.








After resewing, the textblock was so nice and flat it seemed a shame to put the old warped boards back on, besides which they were certainly harboring all sorts of nasty spores. The original cloth peeled up easily, so I built a new case and relaid the original cloth on top. The client liked the look of the mottled back panel, so I cleaned it but did not try to fix the obvious damage.







I have the feeling that this book was already a little rough, but after it fell out of its owner’s bike basket, he brought it to me for repair. The missing spine revealed that rather than sewn with thread, this book is held together with staples.

Over time, staples will rust and become brittle, can discolor the paper, and are prone to breaking. Depending on the book, it can be a good idea to remove them and resew the book with linen thread. Due to the time and cost involved, though, the owner decided to leave the staples in, which is fine.

At some point, the front flyleaf became rather firmly adhered to the pastedown, partially obscuring the bookseller’s stamp.

I love to see these old guys looking – not new – but solid and strong.

Five Easy Pieces

Well, not exactly easy.

This book had been torn apart as garbage, but the owner rescued it and wanted it to look just as it had. Some paper repair was required…

I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to get it back into the original cover, which was intact. Paper repairs and resewing add bulk that can make the repaired textblock thicker than it was originally. But it worked, and the book looks almost exactly as it did before the damage. You can see a tiny bit of linen reinforcement peeking through the original cloth. I could have tinted it to match the rest of the cloth, but as is, it blends and almost disappears into the scuffed areas, so I left it.

As for that torn page…

The Great Outdoors

This amazing book arrived in the mail, and was my first official Bay Area Book Repair job. It’s a family heirloom, given as a gift to the client’s grandfather, and stamped with his name on the cover. Structurally sound, it was badly scuffed, with bumped corners, and some unfortunate blue paint splatters.

Great Outdoors

I was able to pick off the biggest blobs of paint with minimal damage. I repaired the corners and re-tinted the scuffed areas of leather, restoring its uniformly mottled appearance.

Great Outdoors cover