Rebinding Old Books

Remember me mentioning my Annual Registers? Annual Registers were compilations of important information of the previous year: world events, politics, news stories, births, deaths, marriages, promotions, even poetry sometimes. I wrote a bit more about them at History Hoydens last week.

When we both were very new Regency authors, my friend Kathryn Caskie called me to say that an antiquarian bookseller had several Annual Registers he was willing to sell, enough for each of us to have a complete set of 1810 to 1820. Was I interested? Was I!!! He sold them for $20 each, which was a bargain for us and a steal for him, because they were in such bad shape he probably would have thrown them away.

Here’s what they looked like, covers falling off, binding torn or missing, tape holding them together:
I priced rebinding, but it was much too expensive and I couldn’t justify spending more money on these books. They were usable and that was enough for me.

Then my husband’s friend came to visit. He’s a printer, which I always knew, but I didn’t know he was also a bookbinder! He had an old binding device and materials which he gave me with instructions on how to rebind my books!

Today I mustered the courage to give it a try. Here’s how I did it.

Step 1. I gathered the materials. (This is my dining room)

Step 2. I removed the old binding (I’m going to use that rolling pin)

Step 3. Next I lined up the cardboard.

Step 4. Then I glued it down and used the rolling pin to press it down and force out all the air bubbles. (This is my second try, using black cardboard)

Step 5. I glued on the inside lining and positioned the binding glue strip.

Step 6. I then placed the pages in the new binding and put it in the machine.

Finished!

I’m a little sad to let the old binding go, especially on the books that have the least damage, but now I’ll be able to handle the books without them falling apart and crumbling in my hands and without the pages coming loose.

Have you ever rebound books? Or have you ever taken a chance on doing any kind of craft that you never did before?

(I can’t wait until tomorrow and Cara’s discussion of Northanger Abbey!)

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About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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