CONSERVATION: SPINE REPLACEMENT.
When the spine of a cloth covered hard-bound book is torn or damaged but the rest of the cover is in good condition and the text block is still firmly attached to the cover boards, the spine of the book can be replaced. This procedure can also be done on paper covered hard-bound books. However, due to the frailness of paper, spine replacements on paper covered books should only be done when the cover has some significant value to the book. Otherwise, paper covered books should be sent for commercial binding
These procedures apply to general collections materials routed through the Conservation Unit. Special Collections materials and pre 1850 imprints are handled under separate procedures.
- Slice cloth covering of book on the front and back, parallel to spine, 1/8" from the edge of the cover boards, next to the hinge. Continue this cut around the boards to the paste-down, then along the edge of the paste-down to the hinge edge of the board.
- Carefully remove old spine. You may have to cut the cloth where it was turned in under the paste-downs (be sure not to cut the paste-down itself).
- Make new cuts on the inside of the boards, along the edge of the paste-downs, heading away from the spine for about ¾", then diagonally to the edge of the boards.
- Carefully separate about ¾" of book cloth from the boards on the front and back of the book along the cut edge.
- Measure the distance from the cut edge of one board, around the spine, to the cut edge of the other board.
- Measure the height of the boards.
- Add one inch to both measurements.
- Cut a piece of book cloth to these measurements. This is the new spine.
- Cut a spine liner out of a piece of archival cardstock the same width (shoulder to shoulder) of the text block spine and the height of the boards.
- Glue down the spine liner, centered onto the unfinished side of the book cloth.
- Apply a target strip, if required.
- Align the spine liner of the book cloth with the spine of the text block. Glue the extended sides of the book cloth onto the book boards, being careful to apply glue to the hinges (but not the actual spine) to a point ½ inch from the head and toe of the spine. Glue down the lifted cloth on top of the cloth of the new spine. Be sure to run a bone folder along the hinges so the new spine will adhere tightly.
- Using a spatula, pull away the pastedowns at the head and tale of the inside cover of the book.
- Fold over and glue the extended cloth of the new spine under the pastedowns and around the spine of the book. Glue the old book cloth on top.
- Set the book between brass edge boards in a press till the glue dries. Wax paper should be placed inside the front and back covers to keep any stray glue from sticking.
- The original spine may be trimmed so that only the section with the title and author information remains. This can be glued onto the new spine.