Tuesday, August 22, 2006

F&M College Library’s Oldest Printed Book Restored

In the spring of 2006, the library’s oldest printed book was restored to its original “Nuremberg style” by Lancaster binder Tony Haverstick. A detailed description of the restoration process can be found below:

Herpf, Henricus. Speculum Aureum Decem Preceptorum
Nuremberg, Anton Koberger, 1481

The tawed double thongs upon which the book was sewn had broken and the hinge leather nearly separated. In the twentieth century a repair had been effected by tipping in new, thick endpapers and gluing the outer fold to the boards. The outside was reinforced with thin leather overlays, tooled, spanning the head and tail panels onto the outside of the boards. The original caps andend bands were gone.

All the old repair material was removed, salvaging the original panels under the repair. The original spine was removed and the text edges cleaned with a soft eraser. The text spine was moistened, shaped, slightly reshouldered, and allowed to dry in a press. New endbands were sewn on of heavy unbleached linen thread toned in the shop over a rolled flax core, in imitation of how the remaining threads indicated the original may have appeared. The original linen lining of the spine was reused, leveling pieces of leather were glued to head and tail where original spine leather was lacking, otherwise the only additional spine material is the rebacking leather.

The book was rebacked in Hewit calf with sewn-on joints of unbleached airplane linen. The repair pastedown had been heavily glued to the inner boards and, as above, these were removed and the board smoothened to accept new "paste downs" which were supplied by using one blank each from the front and rear of the text.

The brass furniture is made by Klaus Mueller from molds from original pieces of the period and locale, in this case, 15th cent. Nuremberg. The clasps were attached with straps made of goatskin wrapped around a vellum core. The binding was treated with potassium lactate and then a neat's-foot oil/lanolin and finally. Renaissance Wax. Adhesives, acidfree PVA cut with methyl cellulose and buffered wheat paste.

June, 2006

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