Mon activité de Restauration de Livres Anciens est arrêtée.
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Restoration stages

A book will be restored only after a close study of the structure and of the causes of the damage.
It is relevant to note that each book is unique, has its own structure, its own state of preservation, made with different quality cover-materials.
Therefore for each book the process will vary.

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A book before it has been restored

The leather cover must be cleaned by the restorer to work on a clean softer basis. This step is essential for a good restoration.

Unstitching

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After cleaning the spine, the book is very carefully unstitched. A diagram of the stitches will be made. Each bookbinder used to have their own method of sewing a book, that is why it is necessary to respect the techniques they had chosen in their time.

Paper cleaning

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When a book has suffered from a lot of damp stains, I clean the paper with water and I let it dry naturally for the paper not to stretch, and so that it may keep its natural warping.

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Sewing

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The diagram of stitches enables me to reproduce the original ones. The stitching has the same characteristics as the old ones : five hem double page cords of the same thickness and width, and an unbleached linen yarn. It is important to respect such details in order to have the same spine width and the same joint.

Backing

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A hammer is gently used to start a backing. The first and last signatures are to lie upon the cardboards. The backstrips are made with a good quality all-rag paper.

Headband

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The headband is made according to the original one (a double thread in two colours). The yarn is chosen for its colour (it must look old) and its fabric (linen yarn).
The old pass-through stitches are used in order not to hurt the centerfolds more.

Headband
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Cardboard restoration

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A cardboard restoration is made with a rag paper-making pulp.
In the end the cardboard angles look like the original angles

Cardboard cover attachments

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The page cords are put as the originals ones. Bookbinders proceeded like that from the 16th to the 18th century.

Leather working
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Corner making
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Making of the old backing
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Leather restoration

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Leather restorations are made with first quality calf skin. Calf skin is best for its strength and because it keeps better than sheepskin.
The leather corners, joint, headcaps are respectfully reproduced as in the 17th century.

Dyeing

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Thanks to dyeing the leather grafts are usually invisible. Reversible products are used for dyeing. The gilding is not restored, and since the brasses used in the 17th century are no longer available, it is preferable to extend the blind tooling filets to structure the work nicely. It is up to the client to choose to restore the gilding or not.