Images and text by Garry Harrison,
Head, Circulating Collections Conservation,
Indiana University Libraries Preservation Department

Finishing press

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.

Standing press

Immediately following 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 several books.

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.

Press boards

Two types of boards are used in the standing press:

Edge boards

These are placed between books in a standing press. They are wooden boards with a strip of metal on one edge, which protrudes about " 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.

Flat boards

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.

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