Books 101

If you collect books, you better know how to repair them, here goes my new saying. I have discussed in one of my post - Golden illustrators of my childhood - about the wonderful books I grew up with, but which I lost long time ago. Well guess what, I have got some of them back.

With the help of a dear friend, some of these books are with me now (thank you Zsofi, I owe you one). I knew they were used and that is why I decided to honor the occasion, and give them a fresher look. I started looking for bookbinder shops here in Budapest, and inquire how much will it cost to dress a book covers in canvas and give it a sparkling fresh coat of letters on the spine. Well I had a figure in my mind, but hells and bells wasn’t I surprised to learn how far I was from reality!!! I have received a few estimations ranging from 4000 HUF to anywhere to 6000 HUF per book, when I decided it's time to learn bookbinding. 20 Euro just to change the covers, well that is not in my book, mister!

So, I have watched a few videos, I learned what materials I needed and went for it. I do not recommend grudging money to a professional when it comes of valuable books. That is a no, no. But if you desire to give a dog eared book, sentimentally valuable only to you, another chance to life with your own very hands, don't hold back. It is a very rewarding activity, and is not that hard as one might think.

Here are the results of my new hobby, so you can judge for yourself. At the end of the post you can find what materials you need, where to buy them if you happen to live in Budapest, some practical advise based on my experience and a list of the videos that inspired me. Hope this is helpful.

You will need:
A bone folder. Buy 2, as you will need one for the canvas and one for the end paper. The one for the canvas always gets gluey and sticky. Here I recommend to have close at hand a dry cloth and a damp one as it gets messy as you advance in your work, to wipe the bone folder, the surfaces around, and your fingers.
Paper glue - I bought 1 Kg for 900 HUF
End paper - for the beginning and the end of the book. Together with the covers, they hold the book together, provided your book is already bound, and you just want to change the covers.
Binder boards for the covers - (carton) - I prefer harder boards. I bought 2 mm. Mind they are pretty hard to cut with a cutter, but not impossible. Take great care of your fingers. Think twice before you cut.
Book canvas
Cutter or craft knife
Double-sided adhesive band- in case your book also needs repair. It comes handy. I use a narrow one, when I have pages that come a part.
Sand paper - I sand paper the exterior of old book pages to give them a fresher look. Hold the pages together and run the sand paper in one direction, bottom, top and lateral.
Book pressing device - if you don't happen to own one, you can construct one or pile heavy books on top of each other on your book. Here is a video about how to make your own book press:

A lot of waste paper - this is an extra. Gluing gets messy. Don't use newspapers as they tend to live marks if glued on to the paper accidentally.

Where to buy materials in Budapest:
I bought all the items I needed from Konyvkotobolt: - I recommend going there by car. GPS wouldn't hurt using! I spent around 10.000 HUF, (35 Euros). Presently I have bound around 20 books, and I could still bind at least 50. The only thing I have gone out of is glue. Glue hold me trough 20 books. Mind, the binder boards come in big size and get heavy if you buy more than one. The end papers come also in big size, and it wouldn't do rolling them into a papyrus. You need them straight. So go there by car. Probably they can cut them down to different sizes on request. Ask them if you feel this is a problem for you.
After all said and done, all I need is a special printer to type me the title of the books on the spine. Most probably I will go to a printing shop and have the job done. Anyway, the whole process is still more cheaper than to go to a bookbinder and let him do the job for you.

Other shops:

Here you will find a list with the shops that sale these items, problem is most of them don't deal with end users - hobby enthusiasts like me. But feel free to try, maybe you are luckier. If you are thinking about Hobby Bolt - well, that is not the shop to buy materials if you are serious. The prices are more than high, and you won't find all you need. Hobby Bolt is good for kindergarten.
List of the videos that inspired me:

Don't laugh, but Martha Stewart has a point. If you’ve never done bookbinding before, this is a good starting point for beginners. It has a nice introduction page plus two videos, step by step.

After you watch this, and you feel ready for a new level, please check these videos:

Book Repair -- Recase

Book Repair - End sheet Replacement Part I

Book Repair - End sheet Replacement Part II

Best of luck, this is a wonderful hobby :)

P.S. I would like to thank my two wonderful friends Olga and Hilda, invaluable counselors, always ready to help me in my creative projects.

Hilda thank you for calling all those shops for me and ask for offers. You are a great lady and a friend!
Olga thank you for being a creative partner and my blog, facebook, excel, cuisine and all advisor. 
And now last but not least, I thank my sister for giving me the best presents ever. The ink you gave me and the calligraphic pens are precious gifts, like all the others. Thank you sis. I love you!

And to my wonderfully funny, smart, beautiful and loving Maci, who indulges all of my whims and is always there for me.

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