Rounding and backing spine

These images you have on your phone but I repeat them on my blog to allow a fuller explanation of the processes involved in rounding and backing.

This is done after the spine of the book to be repaired is completely cleaned of old glue etc.

This first image is of adding paste to the cleaned spine. After the thorough cleaning the text block is knocked flat and check that all the sections are even. The book is then protected with a couple of boards and clamped in the press to hold. With both a brush and fingers stab and rub paste into the back making sure it is rubbed well into the sections – even gently pulling them apart to allow paste to penetrate a little between the sections.

Let it partially dry then the rounding and backing with the backing boards can be done.

Using firstly hands and fingers to create spine round, then backing hammer


This image shows the use of hands and fingers firstly to pull the book back into a round. then the hammer can be gently used to help form a more even round of the spine.

In gently tapping with the hammer in glancing blows it is important to keep the sections even. These images above show how the sections can be uneven or the spine too extreme in the round shape. They also show how the backing boards are placed just down from the last section to allow the shoulder to be formed. The shoulder should be the depth of the covering boards, even a little more.


   This image shows both the use of the hammer to start the rounding when the backing boards are placed either side, just down from the last section sufficient to form shoulders.

Sometimes the clamping of the backing boards in the press causes the spine to ‘pop up’. If this happens then insert pieces of acid free cartridge between each section to increase the thickness.  When re-clamped in the press the rounding can be completed

This fig 80 shows a good rounding – even and not too extreme in height. shoulders are formed

At this At this stage paste is rubbed into the spine again. The book is removed and, if original covers are to be used they are held against the shoulder and are gently pressed, pulled back against these original covers with a bone folder. Or a covered piece of board of the thickness that new covers will be is held against the shoulders and again a bone folder is used to pull them back over the board.




The book is finally protected with boards, sufficient thickness to protect the shoulders, clamped in a press and left to dry overnight.

The final step is to paste a layer of Japanese Kozo paper along the shine. When dry this allows the next stages in the attaching of new spine to be done with PVA.

If you get to this stage Alex that would be great.

Come back to me with any questions of course. Hope this helps.

Date: 6 Jun 2021

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