Images and text by Garry
Head, Circulating Collections Conservation,
University Libraries Preservation Department
The finishing press is used to
hold the text block of a book vertically, spine facing up, while the book
is out of its case and repair treatments are in progress. Normally, the
procedures performed while the text block is in the finishing press are
the cleaning of the spine and the attachment of the new headbands, super,
and spine liner. It acts as a vice, holding the book tightly, yet not
damaging the text block.
completion of a spine or case repair, books are placed in a standing
press. Each book is placed between two edge boards, with a flat board at
the top and bottom of the press's workload, which may be from one to
We started out with ones of the type shown above, with wooden platens. We have since added more of them. The two iron ones below were bought new. They are manufactured in the US and sell for a very reasonable price compared to their European counterparts, which were the only other ones we could find.
The paper conservation lab uses a large floor-standing model which was bought used.
Two types of boards are used
in the standing press:
These are placed between books
in a standing press. They are wooden boards with a strip of metal on one
edge, which protrudes about ¼" beyond both flat surfaces of the board
(resulting in a T-shaped cross-section). These edges fit into the hinge
of the book and help to create a well-defined gutter between the back
(spine) edges of the boards and the shoulders of the text block.
These are used along with edge
boards in the standing press. They are placed on the absolute bottom and
top of the stack of work, to allow clearance, preventing the metal edges
of the edge boards from being bent by the press as it is tightened down.
They are also used under weight for flattening materials.
Complete Treatments Manual Table of Contents