Welcome to this, the third and final installment of our historical rebinding of Johnson's Dictionary Improved by Todd, Boston, 1828. At the end of Part 2, we had just finished covering the fully disbound, washed, mended, and resewn textblock in new full calfskin. This post will walk through the traditional leather staining, gold-tooling, and final touches undertaken to bring the binding to completion.
Welcome to Part 2 of our historical rebinding of Johnson's Dictionary Improved by Todd, published in Boston in 1828. Last week, at the close of Part 1, our dictionary had been removed from its original decrepit covers, washed, guarded, mended, and reassembled into the neat little textblock pictured above. This week, we finally moved our project from loose leaves back into a bound state, and what a pleasure it is to be back in one piece!
Just as the leaves began to change here in Boston, swashing an already beautiful skyline with a whole new set of colors, our studies at NBSS transitioned from the millimeter bindings of the early 20th century to the full calf bindings of the 18th. Sewn on raised or recessed cords, trimmed in boards, covered with undyed skin and stained with mild acids after covering, the structure was as foreign as it was satisfying to complete. After a few models to get a hang of the processes, I decided to dive into my own collection and rebind a sorry volume of my own from the early 19th century in this style, repeating many of the binding processes that it had first undergone nearly 200 years ago.
New protective endsheets added
Brown cloth case and title label recovered from the original paperback back cover. Nothing will stop the paper in this mass-produced volume from acidifying, browning, and eventually turning to dust, but until then, I can rest easy knowing that it has clothes enough to thrive in the hands and eyes of a few more readers.
On a recent walk through Washington, DC, I stopped at a Little Free Library (and how could I not?) and picked up a worn paperback edition of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Having recently moved to the city, I've been desperate for a reason to pick up a bonefolder again - here was my reprieve!
'Carrots' came to me in decent shape from a $1 sale, but the joints were torn and the textblock was solid be separated from the covers.
Here's the completed reback. After the endbands, the spine was lined with another layer of kozo paper, then linen, then paper. A new spine piece was fitted into the boards, new spine cloth was toned to match the existing cloth, then everything was slid, glued, and pressed together.
After allowing this volume to passively grace my music stand for several years, I decided it would be better appreciated by a pianist friend of mine, and so restored it to a usable state. The textblock was coming loose at the signatures and was almost completely separated from its case. I repaired the signatures, resewed and lined the textblock, then refit the textblock into the original case after lightly treating the spine leather to quell disintegration at the head and heel.