Book Repair and Restoration
Our restoration work encompasses books from the fifteenth century onwards. Much of the work we undertake includes family heirlooms: Bibles, dictionaries, Shakespeares, children's books and literature from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition, we advise procedures for the care of collections, and we undertake repair and restoration work on volumes in private libraries.
In 2004, we were invited in India to restore some old volumes in an ancient Sanskrit library. In addition, we set up a digitisation program for the photographing of fragile, centuries-old palm leaf manuscripts, to enable monks to study them in a printed and bound format.
Our restoration work usually involves extensive paper repairs, resewing of bindings, cloth and leather restoration, and re-titling and decorative gold work to restored covers. The restoration work undertaken is sympathetic to the style of the existing volume.
Paper repairs are undertaken with Japanese paper of varying weights and strengths. Japanese paper has the special quality of considerable strength whilst being light in weight. In addition, Japanese paper can be given a fine feathered edge, and will blend in almost unobtrusively with the paper to which it is adhered.
The problems of decaying leather are also addressed. Whilst the deterioration cannot be stopped, its rate of decay can be considerably reduced. Old leather is treated with neutral and inert cellulose gels and polymer resins, in order to hold decaying fibres together. Fine microcrystalline waxes are then applied as a protective coating to such treated leather.
Our workshop has many tools and pieces of equipment made well over 100 years ago. Many of our hand tools for decorative gold work have passed through numerous bookbinders' hands over several generations. Our nineteenth century machines for gold titling work, originally gas-fired, have been converted to electricity, and they may now look forward to several more generations of service to books.
We have served our customers with verve for 35 years, and we trust we may continue in this vein for many years to come.