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Repairing Ledgers One at a Time

Monday, July 6, 2009

There are several different types of ledgers from the Johnson County Historical Society. This ledger was completely detached from the covers, but the case was intact. The spine and corner pieces were in good shape but the cover cloth was warped and bunched.

I began with the text block. I tipped in some pages that had become detached and then put the ledger in the job backer to re-form the round of the spine. It’s not hard to do with these books since they are so used to being rounded they just need a little coaxing. When I got the spine into the position I wanted it I used wheat paste to line the spine with a piece of kozo, a thin japanese paper which I stippled on with a stiff brush. While that dried I used a piece of kozo and wheat paste to reinforce the spine inside the cover, carrying it across onto the boards to give the hinge area more strength. I added new black cloth to the covers to “pretty them up” and set it under weight to dry. When the spine of the text block was dry, I added a cambric (cloth) lining with flanges overhanging each side of the spine about an inch. When that was dry I put the text block back into the original cover using pva to put down the cambric onto the japanese paper lining inside the cover. I then pasted the original paste-downs to the cover using wheat paste. When the whole thing was put together I placed it in between press boards and put it in the job backer so it would dry in the right shape.