Fixing an old repair

Years and years ago, we used a gummed linen tape to attach a book to its covers. The tape has hard, sharp edges and it’s much stronger than the paper, so the book pulls away somewhere else. Sometimes the page tears away at the tape edge (although not in this case).

The tape peeled away pretty easily with a slight dampening, but a residue was left.  I soaked the edge of the page in water. Looking back on it now I think I should have soaked the whole page to avoid any edge stain. And I might have washed it after, but I always think I’m going to remember! (You can see why I’m not working with costly books.) I used tap water, but distilled is probably the correct choice for a valuable book.

Next I used absorbent unprinted newsprint pieces (recycled from packing) and weights to remove moisture, changing out the paper until dry. Then I had a flat page that I could tip-in.

Glue,barely visible at edge of page

Glue, barely visible at edge of page

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What is it?

What is it?

You might think this is a tool that only a tool freak would need,
or as unnecessary as a winter coat in June (unless you’re in the
Southern Hemisphere), but I have used it a lot in a previous
life as a landscape designer. I also used it for my work
as a technical illustrator.

In the olden days before computer assisted design I really needed it.
Yes, that is an eraser in the tip. And there’s a plug and cord, too. It’s an electric eraser! The little metal card-shaped thing is an erasing shield.

If you think about how hard it is to erase something at the edge of a page, you can see that holding the shield over the area to be erased will hold the paper down. The shield will also protect areas you don’t want to erase.

You can buy cylinders of different eraser refills: abrasive, pink, vinyl and more. The ones I’ve used are around 6″ long and you just advance the eraser as it gets used up.

Most fiction is printed on a porous tender paper. It takes some practice to use an electric eraser-it would be easy to sand right through the paper. Right now, I would use an electric eraser to remove pencil marks if there were a lot of them, but for some reason most people who have to write in library books write in ink or use highlighters. I am unable to use anything other than a softish pencil with a light touch-on my OWN books.