Inside Spine Repair

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

Web design by Jake Nadal,
former Head, Preservation Department,
Indiana University Libraries



(Click on this image to begin slide show.)

Treatment criteria:

The case to text block attachment is intact, boards in satisfactory condition, cover material damaged at spine only. Cover has text and/or graphics it is desirable to save rather than obliterate.

There are two varieties of the spine repair treatment. One involves going over the old cover material with the new spine cloth; the other involves going under it. Which of the two methods is used usually depends on:

* whether or not one or both of the original boards bear text and/or images it is desirable to avoid covering from view with the new spine cloth and/or

* the ease or difficulty involved in lifting the book's original cover material.

The procedure documented here is for going under the original cover material (an "inside" spine repair).

Note: Much of the procedure for the two varieties of this treatment is the same, so some of the images are shared. The procedure for going over the old cover material (rust-colored book) was documented in full. Images specific to the procedure for going under the old cover material (black book) are thus given only where the two procedures differ. Consequently, the book changes color throughout the tutorial. This only means you are at a step where the two procedures differ.

Tools and materials used in this treatment


ruler or straight edge
glue brush
bone folder
standing press


book cloth
PVA mixture
text weight paper
newsprint or similar scrap paper
cotton twine

Using the Manual

To facilitate convenient navigation and use, the procedural parts of this manual are presented in slide show form. As you can see above, clicking on the image shown on each treatment's front page begins the slide show.

Here are the navigational options within each slide. To view this information in illustrated form see the map image below.

Each slide offers the following capabilities:

* Thumbnail images of the entire treatment procedure are in a vertical column to the left. The progression is downward, beginning at the top and ending at the bottom. By clicking on any of these images, you can go to that point in the procedure.

* Clicking on any page's main image opens a larger version of the image in a separate window.

* Button links are provided to return to this page, to go to the next and previous slides in the series, and to go to the complete table of contents for the entire manual.

* The text is dotted with links to tools, materials, glossary terms, and other treatments. Linked text is gray in color and turns red when the pointer encounters it.

Map Image


Table of