Q: Does restoration or rebinding affect the value of my book?
A: That depends, first on the quality of the work done by the bookbinder. Continuity of style and binding material is very important. If a binding is leather, it is best to make the new binding leather also. Unless a cloth binding is of particular value for artistic or historical reasons, it will often increase the value of a book to put a high quality, well crafted leather binding on it. Conversely, if one puts a cheap cloth or imitation leather binding on a volume that was bound in leather, it will almost definitely affect the price negatively.
Restoration, while usually the most desireable, is also the most expensive. Restoration, if done properly, always increases a book's worth from that of its condition pre-restored condition. Care must be taken to insure that all restoration materials and practices are "period correct" and archivally safe. And, whenever possible, reversible.
Q: Will the cost of repair or restoration be more than the present value of my book?
A: It is truly difficult to give a simple answer to this. Books do not have an intrinsic value as gold, silver, diamonds, and the like. A book is worth what the buyer will pay. This varies from buyer to buyer according to their taste. For example, a collector of military history would probably have very little interest in a cookbook. By the same token a collector of New York history will probably care little for "The Missions of California." In proof of that; we once had a customer who, while he was in California, purchased a two volume set of "Scharf's History of Delaware" for one hundred-fifty dollars. In Delaware, that same set, in the same condition, would sell for five times that price.
There are, of course, books that have only sentimental value. How can a price be put on a book your mother gave you? How about that limp leather copy of Shakespeare's Sonnets that you read to your sweetheart when you were courting? What would you say it was worth? Some people make copious notes in their Bibles over the period of a lifetime. When that tattered veteran is in need of care; can you replace it with a new one?
Will my book look new?
A: Only if you want it to. Rebound, restored, and replica bindings are made to look the age of the book itself. They are, first of all, bound in the same manner, using the same methods used by the original bookbinder. This in itself, will give your book the right appearance. It is also desirable to distress the binding to give it the look of having been subjected to time and use.
Q: Is my book beyond repairing?
A: No! You may not want to make the investment necessary, in order to get the best job done, but there is no book beyond repair. You may be surprised. Many books look worse than they are. There is also the reverse of this. Some books are worse than they look. It's always best to let us see the book first hand. We can give you a "ballpark price", if you will send us a picture of your book from all angles in a JPG format.
Q: Do you accept payment plans or lay-away?
A: We certainly do. There are times when customers want a book or books restored, but the cost is greater than they can readily afford to pay. Our solution for this is: the customer can take as long as they need to pay, at no interest, as long as they make regular payments, according to the schedule they agree to. As they pay, the work on their book(s) progresses. When they make their final payment, their book is ready to ship. This plan works quite well and is very popular with our customers. Again, there are no interest charges.
Q: Can you use the original binding?
A: YES! Most assuredly. That is what book restoration is. Sometimes, there is not enough of the original binding in existence. In that case, we can do a partial restoration,using what portion of the binding that remains. You may find it more suitable to have a replica binding.
Q: What about the pages? They're stained. Can anything be done about that?
A: Most certainly. With very few exceptions, the pages can be washed or bleached to remove stains. We don't like to make the paper ghostly white, however, because it detracts from the warmth that the passage of time has given to the pages.
This work can be cost prohibitive in books of little value, but it can be a worthwhile investment in the right book.
Q: What will it cost to have my book repaired properly?
A: All work is done on a time plus materials basis. We maintain a $50.00 per order (not per book)minimum. This minimum barely covers the cost of the bookkeeping involved in a transaction.
Q: How do I send you my books, and is it safe?
A: A well wrapped, sturdily boxed book will almost certainly survive shipping with no adverse affects whatever. There are, of course, things that cannot be foreseen such as acts of God or freak accidents that occasionally occur. These things could happen in your home. For the most part, package delivery companies in America, even the U.S. Mail, do a remarkable job in delivering items unscathed.
If you wish, for a small charge, we will send you a box and the appropriate packing materials. You may also get free Priority Mail boxes from your local post office.
Q: How do I know you will do a good job? Do you have references?
A: Craft Bookbinding Co. is one of the oldest binderies in America and until our relocation to Clifton, Tennessee, we were the oldest in Delaware. We were established January 2, 1952 and have never had a loss nor a customer who was dissatisfied with the finished work. We must admit that some have not been happy with the amount of time we had their book. (see the above Q&A)
We have many fine references that we are proud and eager to show. We pride ourselves in doing better than our customers expect. Your book will get the same care.
Q: How do I know you will do a good job? Do you have references?
A: Click on the "Contact Us" button. We will help you in any way we can by e-mail or telephone. We like customer correspondence.
Q: How long will it take?
A: That depends on our workload, availability of materials, and of course the condition and number of your books. We are very busy and we stay that way. The usual time we have your books is six to eight months, There are some exceptions to that in both directions. We never just "sit" on a job. All work is done as expeditiously as possible.
Q: What is book restoration?
A: Ideally, a restored book should have the appearance that it would have had if it never needed mending. It should have as much of the original material as is possible to use and still maintain the usability of the book. All new work should be in keeping with the style and the time in which the book was produced. All materials used must be archivally safe and whenever possible should be reversible.
The aim of a book restorationist is to maintain the integrity of the book while making it usable in the present and preserved for posterity.
While a look of proper age is desirable, repairs should be as inconspicuous as possible, no attempt should me made to fool future owners. To this end a detailed record of treatment should accompany each restored book. This record will also serve to as a guide to bookbinders in treating the book should need it in the future; much the same as a person's medical records serve the physician.
Q: What can be done with an old Family Bible?
A: Family Bibles are one of our specialties. We have restored hundreds of them. Our goal is for the finished restoration to look as though the Family Bible had been kept in good condition and never was in need of repair.
After examining the Bible to determine exactly what work needs to be done, the old leather is chemically treated with our own formula of leather preserver to halt further decay. The leather on most Family Bibles has become dry and powdery due to built-in and environmental factors. Our chemical treatment consolidates the leather fibers and adds much needed moisture and flexibility to the old leather.
After this treatment, the old leather is temporarily removed (in most cases). The cover boards are repaired as needed and new leather and other repair tissue is applied where the old leather is missing. All repairs are made from the inside to be as inconspicuous as possible. The old leather is then re-attached to the cover boards. Any scuffed and worn places are re-tinted to match the original color. Gilt work (gold tooling) is cleaned and sealed to insure longevity. In the restoration of Family Bibles 99% of existing original material is used. Only where parts are actually missing are they replaced. If, for example, the spine portion of the binding is missing, a new spine is created to look like the original would have looked and it is incorporated into the rest of the cover and the repair is almost invisible.
Many Family Bibles suffer from broken sewing and the books are either in pieces or the pages are beginning to come out. The books are painstakingly taken apart and re-sewn after the original method. Often pages are torn, tattered, and dog-eared. We can do as much or as little as the customer desires in this area, as page mending can become quite expensive. Repairs that are made are done with a heat-set tissue made of Japanese mulberry paper. These repairs are acid free and completely reversible. They are archivally safe and will present no problems in the future such as is often seen with "Scotch-tape."
Deacidification is sometimes desired in old books, especially Family Bibles. This process involves infusing a magnesium buffer into the paper fibers. Acid decay will be arrested for approximately seventy-five years. Decidification by this method is safe and non-toxic. It has been used in deacidifying several original copies of the Declaration of Independence.
In restoring your Family Bibles we treat them with the respect that you expect and deserve. Item of memorabilia, pictures, and other artifacts that have been kept in these old books is carefully removed and put in an envelope for return to the customer with their Bible.
For an example of Family Bible restoration, click on our links for "gallery."
Q: When you restore paper items, are any ever damaged or ruined?
A: Unfortunately , yes. While it almost never happens, it occasionally does. Just as the surgeon tries to the best of his ability and knowledge to save his patient, sometimes his efforts fail and the patient dies.
When a document or other paper item comes in for restoration, it is usually in poor condition and already at the point of being lost. There is no way to prevent loss entirely.
Paper restoration, like all restoration, is a matter of applying knowledge and skill in an effort to save a thing that will certainly be lost if restoration is not attempted. While losses can happen, they happen rarely. Odds are, that an item will come through the restoration process in much better condition than it went into it, sometimes beyond expectations. But those odds are not 100%. There is occasional loss. That's just the nature of restoration.
Q: The estimate you gave me for rebinding or restoring my book seems a little high.
A: Quality fine binding is expensive for good reason. First, good bookbinding leather is not readily available like shoe leather and because the supply is limited, it commands a high price. The other materials involved are first quality and the work is all done by hand. Fine bookbinding is not a trade one can learn overnight. A good bookbinder will spend more time learning his trade than a surgeon will spend at learning his. Fine binding is labor intensive, so even though you may have to pay what seems to you to be a lot, the bookbinder still has to work more hours than the average worker to make his weekly wage. Bookbinders do not expect to get rich. We could get better paying employment elsewhere. We do the work because we love the work. And we love books.
Q: My school yearbook has gotten wet. Can it be restored
A: Almost always, the answer will be, “no! “ The reason being that it is printed on clay-coated paper. Clay-coated paper is ideal for the printing of photographs or anything where a crisp sharp image is desired. That’s why it is used in magazines and other publication containing a lot of photographs. National Geographic, for example.
The downside of using clay-coated paper is that the clay coating is soluble in water. When it gets wet the dissolved coating mixes somewhat with that on the facing page. When dry, it usually forms a permanent bond. Even when it doesn’t, the ink from one page, floating as it were on the dissolved clay, often mixes with that on the facing page.
Clay coated paper also contains a great deal less paper fibers than does regular paper. Its lack of substance is made up for by the coating. When it gets wet and the coating dissolves the sheet beneath the coating becomes exceedingly weak. In no time it begins to pulp. Thereby making early rescue futile.
Because of its fine printing surface, clay-coated paper is likely here to stay when it comes to yearbooks. You’ll just have make sure it never gets wet.
Q: We had a flood and my school yearbook got wet. The pages are all stuck together.Is there anything that can be done to separate them?
A: It's odd, but it seems the fate of all yearbooks is to eventually get wet. Like trailers and tornadoes, yearbooks and water go together.
The problem is that yearbooks are printed on clay coated paper. The clay coating is a superb printing surface. There is none better for pictures. That is why it is used in publications such as National Geographic. When the clay gets wet it dissolves and the particles of clay mingle with those on the opposing page. When it dries there is a permanent bond. Since all the printing is on the clay, even if you could separate the pages, the printing is likely to be lost.
Sorry, we would like to help. We are loath to have any book be lost, but there are times when there is no remedy. A wet yearbook is one of those times.
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