Creating a Knowledge Sharing Culture

By: Sherif Afifi | July 15, 2017

      Last year I had the opportunity to try out and tutoring some new treatments and conservation techniques, during my Master program. A lot of challenges that my colleagues and I have faced during this course, despite my long period experience as a book conservator, but conservators always learn, and challenges are always welcome to teach us.

Missing Endband

Easily conservators and restorers can (clone) or imitating historical headbands styles, this is for sure easy for headbands (endband) professionals and lovers, but, have you ever thought about a book with completely rigid true raised bands spine? Which has one (or both) of its headbands were missing? What if you would like to clone an endband instead of the missing original one without disbanding the rigid spine leather especially if the spine in a fair condition? It is an essential manner to keep, conserve and preserve all the historical evidence that the object carries, therefore, saving the original spine and its identity is not an optional choice for conservators, it is mandatory. The same condition as questioned above, a 19th-century rare book titled "Egypt and Palestine Photographed and Described by Francis Frith" in a condition of deteriorated cover and missing one of its headbands (specifically the endband) due to wrong handling and its movements from and to the shelves, the spine was rigid along with true raised band (Fig 1), has been requested to be conserve and restore.
Fig 1 - Original and missing headband
However, I decided to make the endband, but the main problem was, how could I tie the endband Tie-downs through the spine and across the quires gutter (at least in three positions)? though, the only logical solution was to remove (separating) the leather and the spine lining from the spine in a distance that could allow me to use the needle, in and out, through the gutters. I have followed those procedures:
Fig 2 - Separating 4cm from the spine
Mechanically using a spatula and gently the lining paper layer which carries the leatherback has been separated from the spine, for about 4 to 5 cm towards and just before the last raised band (Fig - 2). The dry mechanical separating method for the spine was not easy at all and required time with a lot of patience, otherwise, more deterioration will take place. Avoiding any folding to the leather during and after separating was required to avoid any other cracked to the leather especially it was acidic.
Headband Core: Acid-free carton has been used as an endband core, with the same thickness as the original headband.Threads:I have chosen silk green and beige color (from Gutermann & from Faro) for the endband to match the same colors on the original one (Fig - 3).
Fig 3 - Threads colors
The hardest part was starting, tying-down, and ending the threads during making this headband using a curved needle, without strongly lifting the spine leather back which has been separated earlier.
Sherif Afifi
During making the endband
About to finish the new endband 
Final Endband result

Final endband result after adding new leather for spine conservation process 
Spine before completing conservation process
In conclusion, adding a new headband using the same historical technique and color for the endband of this rare book, without actually removing or deteriorating the leather spine was tremendously difficult, but the mission successfully has been accomplished ;)
Maybe I will write another blog about some different methods and techniques that I have experienced in headband conservation and restoration, and you should understand that you can not use only one method for each conservation or restoration problem that you face. reading this previous blog, and you will find a video about a new method for restoring headband.
As a conservator, you have to study carefully and closely the object before making any decisions with accordance to the conservation and restoration international code of ethics, and even you have to think about the durability of the object with accordance to its size and weight and its relation to the binding mechanism, especially if it will be placed back to the shelf to be available for researchers.

Creating a Knowledge Sharing Culture
Sherif Afifi
Sorry English is not my first language but sharing experience and knowledge is a global language

Category: Uncategorized 

Tags: Headband, Restoration 

By: Sherif Afifi | June 23, 2017

Thoughts of saving the historical evidence, during conservation and restoration process; is the main objective that all professional conservators are keen of. Moreover, before taking any conservation or restoration decision or action; conservators carefully should study hard the object history and condition.Curators work closely with conservators to identify the object's history, identity, originality, and all other codicological and curatorial pieces of information.

marble paper tills a lot about the book
Therefore, marble paper considered as one of the books sights that carry a lot of historical evidence, for instance, it carries information about the object binding history, technique, and whether it is the first (original) binding or a later on binding or restoration.

The idea of carrying a handy and easy to use yet mobile application, which carries out all the information and history about marble papers, was one of my dreams in creating a knowledge sharing culture since I have many dreams regarding this sharing conservation culture.

Marble paper pattern and methods guide mobile application for conservators, bookbinders, curators, and researchers, helps to identify most of the vintage marble paper patterns from the 15th century to 19th century, giving you an idea about how to marbling and how was each pattern made.

Work offline
No need for internet access or spending more money on your mobile data plan. After downloading and installing marble paper guide, the majority of its functions are working offline.

Easy and simple menus

Easy to find and identify a marble paper pattern
Find by pattern:
After installing this FREE Android application, you will immediately discover that it is easier now for conservators in just a click to find more information about the marble paper that he is working on (for conservation-restoration or even binding), just by comparing its pattern with many patterns on this application and start navigating more historical information and similar patterns.

Searching by name:
Easy off-line search is available, just type the pattern name or any other keywords, and the built-in search engine will guide you to find more possibility results untell you find the required information or pattern.

Grouped by century:
If you are searching for a marble paper in a period of time or specific century, for example, in case of using a marble paper to meet the requirement of a historical period binding technique, this grouping option is the assistant, which classify all the marble paper patterns according to its creation century and its common usage.

More options are there in this marble paper guide FREE application, and here is a video that describes and demonstrates this Android application;

A FREE download for this application is available on Google Play Store for Android mobile, unfortunately, it is not available yet on IOS. If you are interested in MORE of other conservation and restoration Android mobile applications, which have been developed by me; please visit my Google Play page. Furthermore, your rating and review definitely are a huge support to me, which encourages me for developing more mobile applications for conservators. As well as your feedback is highly appreciated and will help me to improve my applications.
Download Marble Paper Guide App

Creating a Knowledge Sharing Culture
Sherif Afifi
Sorry English is not my first language but sharing experience and knowledge is a global language

By: Sherif Afifi | June 04, 2017

As the main goal, never ever replace rare book's original handmade headband with a new one, it is one of the most important historical evidence which carries a lot of codicology information. However, conserving this headband - if necessary - is the optimum choice. 

Deteriorated Headband

What does Headband (Endband) mean?
Headbands are one of the bookbinding characteristics, especially most often found with hardcovers. The headband (or in sometimes called Endband) made up of a small cord or strip acting as a support of material affixed near the spine to provide structural reinforcement and sometimes decorative effect.

Headband deterioration
Wrong method of pulling a book out

The most common physical deteriorating effect is readers common to pull a book out by hooking their finger over the top edge of the book spine, which create a physical force to the headband resulting after hundreds of this action a severe damage. Rather than other chemical deterioration factors representing headband material acidity.

Here is a video demonstrate unusual way to conserve and restore headband;

Note: in the few next weeks I may write a description of this method.

Conservator Sherif Afifi

Creating a Knowledge Sharing Culture
Sherif Afifi

By: Sherif Afifi | May 06, 2017

A conservation and preservation process for  Imperial Germany banknote 1000 Marks dated to 20th century (1910 )

Creating a Knowledge Sharing Culture
Sherif Afifi

By: Sherif Afifi | March 25, 2017

            Limp binding is a bookbinding method in which the book has flexible cloth, leather, vellum, or (rarely) paper sides. When the sides of the book are made of vellum, the bookbinding method is also known as limp vellum.

The cover is made with a single piece of vellum or alternative material, folded around the text block, the front and back covers being folded double. The quires are sewn onto cords such as alum-tawed thongs and the sewing supports would be laced into the vellum cover. The thongs would also often be used at the fore edge of the covers to create a closure or tie.
In limp binding the covering material is not stiffened by thick boards, although paste-downs if used, provide some stiffness; som...