1. James Bergman December 29, 2016 @ 4:15 pm Reply

    I’m really glad that fixing a broken hinge is so easy to do. I thought that I was going to need to get a whole new binding for my book. I even considered just trying to put a coil binding on it. I still think I might for some of my kid’s favorite picture books.

    • John Ison John Ison December 30, 2016 @ 2:08 pm Reply


      I’m glad you found the information in the blog useful. Thanks for your comments.


  2. Paul DeLucchi January 2, 2017 @ 6:15 pm Reply

    Hello Mr. Ison — thanks for the nice clear instructions. I’m going to read further now. We’ve got a 9-volume set of Ridpath’s History of the World here. Outer layer of spine is in sorry shape on most, but innards are generally sound and clean. No retail value to speak of. I thought to use them — along with your instructions — to get some practical experience with book repair. I have Helmar acid-free glue. Wondering next about what substance to use to revitalize the old “leather” i.e. paper covers — maybe a clean-drying oil like danish? Thinned polyurethane? Then, where paper is actually missing, what material do I slide in there to fill the gaps? Anyhow, THANK YOU for the hinge repair tutorial.

  3. John Ison John Ison January 13, 2017 @ 1:07 pm Reply

    A note to readers of this blog: As I wasn’t able to visualize the damage to Paul’s books, I asked him to send photos directly to me. The spines of some his books were in relatively good condition while others were missing large sections.

    Thank you so much for sending the photos. They were a tremendous help. Since this blog was developed primarily to help librarians repair damaged books so they can be returned to circulation, I would have recommended rebacking these books as outlined in the The Book Doctor is In: Repairing Damaged Covers.

    Since that procedure would drastically change the appearance of the books and you are hoping to keep them looking much as they did originally, I contacted a manager at Gaylord Archival, a sister company of Demco. She, in turn, contacted an experienced book conservator who offered the following comments:

    Most of the books don’t look so bad in terms of damage.

    * Danish oil is a kind of a varnish and I wouldn’t use it. Rather go for Cellugel.

    * For repairs, I would use Japanese papers like Moriki (or similar), 80# acid free paper, 10pt card stock. Unless you do a complete reback, you won’t need cloth.

    * Don Etherington’s Japanese paper hinge repair method has become the standard treatment for these kinds of repairs.

    “All this being said, I would recommend looking into some local guidance, such as a hands-on class/workshop.”

    Paul, this may not give you as much information as you had hoped, but without going for a complete (and expensive) conservation job, I think this is the best you can do.

    Most of the materials suggested for repair can be found at gaylord.com.

    Good luck,

  4. Amy Yarbrough September 25, 2017 @ 5:07 pm Reply

    Hello Mr. Ison,
    I am new to book repair but I absolutely love the salvaging abilities I find these techniques offer. My first attempt at book repairing was a partially torn page in my bible which I used Filmoplast P to mend. However, I am now attempting to repair another leather-bound bible where the cover is nearly detached on both sides and multiple pages at both front and back are loose. I’ve read how to reattach the cover but I’m not sure how to deal with the loose pages between the cover and flyleaf and the book block at the same time. Which should I repair first, the loose pages or the binding?


    • John Ison John Ison October 3, 2017 @ 11:12 am Reply

      Thanks for sending the photos of the bible you want to repair. Although it will require a fair amount of effort you should be able to return it to good condition.

      If you are not familiar with any of the terms used here please refer to the August 2015 blog post Bookbinding 101. Since the contents (text block) of your bible appear to have been attached directly to the spine of the soft leather cover you will need to completely separate that from the cover—including removing the page with the map that appears to be partially attached to the back cover.

      Flatten all of the loose pages that have been wrinkled and folded. Protect each page with a sheet of parchment paper (it’s best not to use waxed paper as that can transfer wax to the pages when it’s heated) and gently press it with a warm iron. If this isn’t successful you may need to dampen the pages slightly. Since the parchment paper won’t allow steam from the iron to penetrate to the page use a spray bottle and mist each page very lightly. Then replace the parchment paper and iron the page.

      Once the loose pages are flattened you will be able to reattach the cover to the text block using double-stitched binder tape to secure it into the cover as described in part 2 of Post 5 –Reattaching a Cover. Since you will need only a short piece of binder tape you might check with your local library to see if they have any available that you could buy. If you prefer to not use the binder tape you can attach the text block directly to the cover although this repair won’t be as strong. Be sure to use Norbond adhesive as it will remain flexible while many similar-appearing adhesives will turn brittle over time and fail. Stand the book on its spine and allow it to dry overnight. Since the cover is soft brace it on both sides to keep it standing straight.

      I’m glad your first efforts at book repair were successful and think you’ll be pleased with the results you achieve by following the process outlined here.


      • Amy Yarbrough October 7, 2017 @ 12:06 pm Reply

        Thank you for your time, Mr. Ison. I will follow your instruction carefully. I hate to throw any book away, especially a treasure like a familiar bible, so I am very happy to find out it is reparable.


  5. Suzanne Molina February 12, 2018 @ 9:39 am Reply

    I have a book with a detaching outer layer of the spine, and a loose back cover. While I would love to repair it, I am worried that it might devalue the book. I am not sure if I should attempt the fix or have it fixed professionally? Can you help me to determine what to do?
    Thank you,

  6. Chris Hall April 22, 2018 @ 9:47 am Reply

    Hi John,
    Thank you for this video. I have a book where both hinges are completely broken and the text block and cover are completely separated. Can the technique in this video simply be done for each hinge individually, or is there another suggested way to address this problem?
    Thank you,

    • Chris Hall April 22, 2018 @ 9:54 am Reply

      Sorry! I see that part 2 addresses my situation.

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