Fix it: Book Restoration

Daniel Colvin on the lost art of book restoration

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From the February 2014 edition

My degree is in papermaking and printmaking from CCAD, and that led to bookbinding. One of my most inspirational experiences was when I got the opportunity to watch Harry Campbell at OSU Libraries. He was restoring one of the original St. James Bibles. To be able to pick up this ancient tome, from like the 1500s … It’s kind of like an Indiana Jones moment. I mostly observed, took notes, asked a lot of questions, and then I would go home and practice on my own. I would go find books at thrift stores and then go put them back together.

Putting a new cover on a book is not that big a deal. But once you get into real structural damage, where the pages are brittle or ripped or cracked or tearing or falling apart and the spine is degenerated and broken, that’s when you start to get into some serious expense. I’ve had people bring me their family Bible and cookbooks. I like the idea of giving a book new life. It comes in on its last leg, and it goes out with four new ones.