Colonial Folk Art Studio & Gallery

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Book Conservation and Repair

“Primum Non Nocere*”

Basic Repairs

*  Reattach spines

*  Recreate spines

*  Reattach pages

Extensive repairs

*  Board replacement

*  Partial rebinding

     Extensive restoration

*  Page replacement

*  Full rebinding

Antiquated book repair
We fix your antiquated books!

About what we do (and don’t do) ...

In book conservation and restoration, there are many different ways to deal with a book but there are four main considerations:  shelf appeal, historic value, dollar value and use.  

For many people, keeping a book in one piece for future generations to enjoy is paramount.  For others, there is a strong desire to have the book look as if it was just off the shelf 200 years ago.

Both of these paths are valid and are usually possible unless a book has reached a point of no return.  Two further factors come into play also -- affordability.  Full restorations are very costly (potentially thousands of dollars) while conservation repairs are very affordable (sometimes under $100).

Conservation. In doing any basic repair or restoration work, I use as much of an original book as possible, reinforce as required and replace parts only when necessary.  Normally, this involves repairing or replacing spines and reattaching boards.  This gives the customer a solid, long-lasting book to enjoy for generations.  Depending upon the customer’s desires, it can also produce a visually appealing book.

For example, repairing a spine (the part you normally see on the shelf) is really dependent on the customer’s desired level of keeping it original.  Replaced spines will look as good on a shelf as the materials a customer chooses to use. Leather looks great, but is more expensive, for example.

This is the method most often used since it is the most affordable.

Extensive repairs. If you need or want more than a basic repair, we can rebuild the book using as much of the original material as feasible.  This type of repair goes from creating new boards to partial rebinding.  This gives customers many options, including whether to bind in leather instead of cloth or to choose other unique materials.

While the results of extensive repairs can produce works of art, it comes at a price.  Extensive repairs are time, labor and material extensive.  That means the cost of these repairs is normally much higher than a conservation repair and take longer to complete.

Beyond extensive repairs.  There are some levels of restoration that I will not do.  That includes things such as recreating blindstamps or retooling leather.  That said, I have great contacts in which to refer you.

Will we restore your treasured book?

Chances are, yes.  We must evaluate the condition of the book and get a solid understanding of your ultimate vision for the book before we'll agree to any work.  From that information, we can make recommendations for work and give estimated costs.  Once we agree to it all, I’llee give you a firm price so you know what you’re paying from the start.e

I will ALWAYS do a topnotch job working on your book. I’ll always make sure that you have a clear expectation of the results.  I will NEVER take on a project that won’t produce good results in the eyes of the customer.  If a book is too far gone, I’ll be upfront and let you know -- I don’t charge for an estimate.  And I will never enter into a project that a client cannot afford -- remember, good conservation repairs don’t preclude doing extensive restorations later.

Now for the fine print disclaimer ... doing extensive repairs to valuable books can diminish the value. I only recommend having repair or restoration work on valuable books done to the minimum level to keep them from further deterioration.

* “Do no harm”

Colonial Folk Art, Inc.

110 Bacon Avenue

Williamsburg, VA  23185

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