Tuesday, March 27, 2012

M'Mahon's Gardening, 1806

So, this is it. The last book for Mr. K. It's The American Gardener's Calendar by Bernard M'Mahon ( First edition, 1806). The order instruction only said, "facsimile" without any specific notes, so, that got me thinking. Does it mean a full facsimile binding, or facsimile spine rehinging. Well, I chose the latter as it's the first edition, and the original boards are very beautiful. Thus, they must be preserved.  - just needed corners and edges restored. A couple of corners needed to be reconstructed though. In case people are wondering how bookbinders "reconstruct" missing pieces of boards, I took some pictures of that. This was relatively a minor reconstruction, but the process is basically the same whether your dog ate a big chunk of the board or it just got worn out over the years like this one. Leather dying was a bit tricky for this particular book. Somehow, I found it unusually difficult to match the color and texture to the original boards. Well, I guess the leather I was using was one of those that doesn't react precisely to my "command". Anyhow, I think it came out alright, after all. Oh, by the way, I haven't posted any pictures of head caps on this blog before, so I took a picture of that, in case someone's interested.


  1. Thanks so much for posting this. The invisible repair process doesn't seem easy but the photo in steps is a great help. I'm going to try to fix the corners of one board I have from you and send you some pics afterwards. But before that, I was wondering if the leather I must use for reconstructing the missing areas is a special one? Could I use natural lambskin pared very thin?

    1. Hi Teo,
      Of course you can use whatever leather that's suitable for the book you are working on. The main thing is to use leather that's similar to the original leather of the book. For this particular book, I used a suede side of a leather in order to match the surrounding area, then I matched the color and texture by dyeing, etc. I didn't have to dye this piece of leather before inserting it to the board because it was what I was after as it was, but often, I have to dye the leather before putting it to the board.

  2. First of all, great job! How do you achieve the connection between old and new leather so uniform after all? Do you use special application or this is just a acrylic paint on a top what goes into the connection/cracks and sealing all of it (I finished speculate :)?