Friday, August 23, 2013

The Innocents Abroad, 1869

It's rather embarrassing to say, but I've never read The Innocents Abroad, Twain's most popular work, featuring the narrative of his travels in Europe. I'd certainly enjoy his humorous cynicism and ironical observation of the unjust contradictions that the righteous would proudly justify, and his timeless critique of the all-too-human society. But I haven't read it. I feel like an illiterate fool. If the client of this book was reading this, he'd certainly be disappointed!

And boy, was I disappointed in the previous restorer of this book. I put the pictures up here, so I don't think I need to point out what I don't like about it in detail, but the strange and sloppy patch-up job on all four corners and the hinge with an unmatched material which needlessly got broken prematurely made me let out a big sigh for sure. Depressing as hell. Anyhow, I re-did what was supposed to be done in the first freaking place, but there are always some sort of problems when it comes to fixing someone else's job, that makes my job imperfect, which pisses me off big time. And the crap he/she left underneath had to stay forever. Don't I just loath it.

Anyway, as you can sense from my whiny rant above, I'm not in a cheery mood lately. Sorry about that. It's just that I'm under pressure and stress that I thought I should let it out a bit.. sigh..


  1. Is restoration on cloth cover book is more difficult than leather cover?
    And you should definately post your rants here if you are under pressure.It may be a way to relieve the stress:)
    You could also expect your journey to Germany .I guess it will make you feel better,at least I will if I am under pressure:)
    Oh ,I haven't had a day off this summer...


    1. Ahh.. I don't wanna sound like a whiny little brat! So I'll try to keep my complaints to myself next time!

      Well, although it depends, restoration on cloth bindings can definitely be trickier than that of leather bindings because the original material is normally very fragile and delicate, and often doesn't exist now so that matching the new material to it requires some expertise and careful considerations.

    2. I have made some cloth cover journals,and after being used for a long time,there will be bubbles(there is no glue between the board and the cloth).
      I use an iron to make the book surface flat ,but I know clearly that the bubbles will come out again.I could not apply glue (white latex )on the bubbles,because it will leave marks on the cover.However I found a glue which will sink through the cloth ,but it will cause marks too,though is not very obvious.
      Do you have any suggestions?


    3. An iron!? Nooo, don't use that!

      Although it depends on the kind of cloth material and size and location of the bubbles on the surface, glue can be inserted by a syringe, or by creating a small incision where it's not so visible in order to insert glue. The glue shouldn't be too watery or too much, or it might seep through to the surface if the cloth is aged or thin. After the glue is inserted, use a bone folder to smooth the surface and gently squeeze out the excess glue. Before all these, you might want to test how the cloth would react to moisture; for if it's delicate and aged, moisture might leave a mark on the surface. In that case, you need to carefully control the amount of glue to insert.

  2. I'm a very amateur bookbinder who comes to your site frequently to see what a real bookbinder can do. Go ahead and let off steam if you need to--just keep posting (and thanks).

    1. Hello,

      Though I am a bookbinder/restorer and actually make a living off my profession, the word "real bookbinder" sounds so foreign to me because this craft is a lot deeper than most folks think and it takes a life time to master everything and perfect it. By saying this, I always consider myself as an amateur as well.

      Thank you for being a regular visitor of my blog. :-)