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The client wished to retain the gilt calf paste-downs if possible to include them within the new binding. To do so it meant removing them from the existing limp cover so I could mount them to new sheets of paper.

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The leather of the limp calf cover had started to degrade, so I removed it by peeling it back carefully from the reverse of the paste-down. I was then able to sand the surface using a fine sandpaper.

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Once sanded the paste-downs were mounted to a bi-folded sheet of paper and sewn to the textblock as an additional section on the front and the back. I wrapped a bi-folded strip of paper to this new section as a guard, the other side of which (as visible in the below photograph) was then tipped onto the endpaper section once that had been sewn to the textblock.

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The sections were all then sewn together onto four tapes.

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Once all the sections were sewn together, with the endpapers added on at either end, the spine of the book was glued up in-between the tapes with PVA glue and left to dry.

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I then rounded and backed the book, and lined the spine attaching a one-on, two-off hollow and then sanded the top edge flush. I wanted to add some edge decoration and did so using watered down acrylic paints. I first applied a thin layer of dark green to match the paper I had used to mount the new paste-downs onto. I further built up the colour by dabbing on small amounts of white, peach and green paints on top to create an abstract pattern in colours to match the binding.

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The foredge and bottom edge were left deckled so I did not need to apply edge decoration to them. The next stage was then to sew the endbands. I selected colours that I thought would work well on the binding.

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I then created double core endbands using a mixture of these coloured endband threads. The larger core was made from a lamination of leather and a thin strip of vellum. The vellum side was paced pointing towards the top edge of the binding to try and keep a crisp edge where the endband silks wrapped over it. The smaller core was made by stiffening some linen sewing thread with PVA glue and letting it dry out.

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The boards were then laced on and bevelled. The covering leather was pared in preparation for the next stage of the binding process.

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The next post details how the leather onlays and embroiderd elements were added to the covering leather to build up the design.

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