At long last, a classic dust jacket is freed of its pressure-tape mummification and returns to its corner store display a little more lively than it was a month ago.
Despite the nearly 20 hours spent painstakingly lifting three different types of tape from the matte, printed paper dust jacket, the most critical conclusion I came to over the course of this project is that patience is key. No fancy tools or techniques can supersede careful, consistent progress, grinding away of the fetters of frivolous 'repairs' one millimeter at a time. After using a heat tool to remove the film and adhesive residue, tears and losses were filled in with Japanese tissue and in-painted with acrylic. Because this volume was bound to end up back in the store window and has more value as a display piece than a collectible, I took more of a 'restoration' than a 'conservation' approach to my repairs, prioritizing the original look and feel of the book over reversability.
The large piece torn from the bottom-left section of the dust jacket presented a special challenge. Extra care had been taken, once upon a time, to secure this piece to the jacket with - and I mean this in every sense - a gross amount of tape, seemingly several times over the years, each less effective than the previous. Not only was the piece loose and liable to loss, it was caked with a tarry, discolored residue which obscured the artwork and prevented other tapes from sticking.
Getting a solid finger-hold on such a small piece was difficult, but the fragment cleaned up nicely after all. A tissue 'shelf' was adhered to the larger jacket with wheat paste and the fragment was replaced by carefully fitting the tear lines back together -- a puzzle with two very finicky pieces.
The corner store owner from whom I borrowed the book was elated to see the book back in presentable condition and even expressed some hesitancy at putting the book back out in its window display lest it come to any more harm. Ultimately, though, books are meant to be handled, passed down, shipped across time and space. Wear is inevitable and a sign of use and appreciation, even if it's occasionally careless appreciation. It's not my place nor within my means to decide the fate of every book out there, but I'm grateful to give renewed life to a time-tested tome every now and then.