Creating a Knowledge Sharing Culture

By: Sherif Afifi | June 29, 2016

  labels on rare collections (Books, Manuscripts, documents, photo albums ..etc) are glued on these objects and after some time it cause damage to the original  binding material this damages mostly is irreversible damages most of the time.

On this blog i will try to share my last few years experience thinking and trying to deal with those labels for the rare books collections, some methods was effective and safe, and some are not, as we always considering reversibility of any techniques we use on rare objects.

Rare books labelling in libraries
(A) A 18th century binding damaged with new archival label 
Labelling recommendation for modern and new archival materials (books, magazines ... etc) :
  • For general collections acceptable acid free book labels are available from library suppliers.
  • Alternatively, use a soft pencil if it is absolutely essential to label the inside of a book cover directly.
in fig(A) a 18 century binding is damaged by irreversible transparent tap that has been add to the spine joint with the upper and lower cover for keeping it's shelf mark label stable as possible (from the Liberian point of view).
after many times of use and handling, this transparent taps left causing a damage to the original leather.

another example of label cause a damaged to a book
I have tried many different methods to avoid adding those labels back to rare books after restoration especially on the original binding material specially if the binding material is leather or paper.
  • Using Transparent polyethylene

    In this method a protection layer from transparent polyethylene is used to protect the spine as a quarter binding then adding all the labels and bar-codes to this polyethylene layer.

Advantages of this method: 
  • Avoid direct contact or direct gluing between the book and the label.
  • Protect books spine from dust and direct hand contact.
    Disadvantages of this method: 
    • Bad ventilation for the object spine (it cannot breath)
    • May cause fungal attack to the cover in case of humidity. 
    • Books electrostatically charge sticks together on the shelf which make some books act together as one during handling and cause handling damage.
    Humidity start effecting the spine - Electrostatic charge makes many objects act as a one during handling

    • Using Flap

      One of the most bad thing that i have ever try is using a flap of leather or clothe or celluloid attached to the inner end of the spine during the restoration process to attach labels on it.


    Advantages of this method: 
    • Keeping labels away from the original cover material.
    • Good ventilation for the spine.
    Disadvantage of this method: 
    • Cannot applied to all books on the shelf (only we can apply it when we fully restored and rebinding the books).
    • Not durable whine using on shelves (readers sometimes Hand pulling the book from the shelves using it).
    • Not always in a position to make it visible on the shelf.
    • irretrievable as it become a part from the object binding.
    • give a wrong historical identity to the original object.

    • Using Acid Free Label Card:

      Is an acid free card which is designed to attach on the end leaf or front leaf (guard) of the book with a external space on it to glue or add all labels and  bar-codes on it.

      Using acid free cards
    Advantages of this method: 
    • Nothing directly glued to the object which means good ventilation for the object and no more label cause damages.
    • Stickers and labels is away (not glued on) from the books spine.
    • Visible to Liberians and readers, so it makes it Easy to find Call number or bar-code on shelves.
    • Acid free card will not make any acidity Transfer effect or marks on the book papers or book cover.
    • Very practical, cost effective and easy in using and changing it.
    Applying acid free label card method to all rare books
    Disadvantage of this method: 
    • It may get mixed from object to another during handling or reading.
    • Liberian needs to educate readers respectively how to but these tables back to the objects after reading.
    • In case of a hard pressure on books on shelves for long time, this label we leave embossed marks.
    Till today this method is the favorite one for me even if the risk of losing this label during reading process or handling, but still you can print a new barcode and apply it on a new card then attach it to the book,
    adding to your consideration that the researchers who are dealing normally with rare objects (which is usually not objects for normal readers) are able to understand the value of these books and handling it in a good way and Liberian easily can guide them for the best objects handling practices.

    May be in my next blog i will talk about the save handling methods for bindings.

    thanks for reading



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sorry English is not my first language but sharing experience is a global language

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    By: Sherif Afifi | July 18, 2015


    Grain Direction
    Folding paper to the grain direction

    As a conservator and bookbinders deal with several materials especially paper-based material, it is important to understand the paper grain direction theory and get a practical training about determining the grain direction for several paper-based materials whether it is machine made or handmade.In this blog, I will use samples from several and different paper materials and demonstrate the importance of understanding paper grain direction.



    What is paper grains?

    A paper's grain is the direction which most of the fibers align in a specific orientation. Grain is determined during the paper making process when fibers tend to align in one direction or the other.

    Is it important to know the grain direction?

    Paper is susceptible to any moisture, so it is important to know the paper grain direction.

    For binding
    It is ideal to have the grain of the pages, endpapers, lining paper, and boards used for the case...etc. to be barreled with the book spine, in order to eliminate the unnecessary stress on the hinges and for the ease of turning the pages.
    For paper restoration (paper mending)
    Normally we are using Japanese paper for conservation and restoration process especially in paper mending, suppliers now a days providing a mechanical made Japanese paper and tissue (unless they say it is handed mad), so knowing the grain direction for mending paper well be as the same concept of having the grain direction barreled to the gutter or to the spine or to be as the same direction as the original paper. So that, old paper (original) and new paper (that we use for mending) have their tension factor and did not act differently with the temperature and humidity changes. 
    For customized box and mount making
    when the grain direction for all customized box materials and customized document mounts is parallel to its hinges, it will open flat with the grain and last longer.

    Short grain and Long grain.

      It is depending on how it was cut in relation to its grain direction. For example, when the grain direction moves parallel to a paper short side that means it is short grain,
    On the other hand, if the grain direction is parallel to the long side (like most of A4 Paper that we use in printers) it called a long grain. So if the grain direction is as long as the length of the whole piece of paper, then it is a long grain sheet. 
    For example:
    • if we have an 11×17 sheet of paper, the grain is running parallel to the 17-inch edge of the sheet and is referred to as Long Grain.
    • If the paper is 17×11, then the grain is running parallel to the 11-inch edge of the paper and is referred to as Short Grain.

    Mechanical made papers & Handmade papers grain direction!

    Once you get a mechanically made paper that means for sure you have a grain direction and this is because of the mechanism of paper making machines,
    during the paper manufacturing process a bulb path with what called mesh screening is to be used instead of using a mold frame in handmade paper making, the machine using mesh screening which is moving on relays with running water and mold continually, making paper rolls, the direction which is the bulb is running throw the mesh screening makes the fibers mostly aligned in the same direction of the bulb and mash screening movement. this movement direction is the grain direction for the mechanically made paper after drying.
    Bulb movement direction during mechanical paper mad process

    In opposite side, Handmade papers do not typically have a grain direction because all the fibers that make up the paper lay in all different directions when it is dried.
    Handmade paper





    What if folding in a wrong grain direction (against the grain direction)?

    Generally, In folding against the grain, you are folding the fibers. This cause weakens or split for the fibers, resulting in cracks and tears in the paper-based materials.
    folding effect
    Folding effect with and against grain direction on Carton
    Folding effect with and against grain direction

    Folding against grain direction - card 
    Folding with the grain direction - card

    Now it is clear that folding against the grain direction cause weaken for the fiber which will make the folding gutter completely weakness and causing cracks and tears, that is why it is recommended that during binding or restoration process you should fold your paper-based materials to the grain direction and the grain direction should be paralleled to the book spine during binding.

    Easy ways to determine the paper grain direction, please see this video.




    -----------------------
    Sherif Afifi

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

    By: Sherif Afifi | July 18, 2015

      As a conservator and book binders deals with several materials specially paper based material, it is important to understand the paper grain direction theory and get a practical training about determining the grain direction for a several paper based materials whether it is machine made or handmade.

    In this blog I will use samples from several and different paper materials and demonstrate the importance of understanding paper grain direction.

    What is paper grains?

    A paper's grain is the direction which most of the fibers align in a specific orientation. Grain is determined during the paper making process, when fibers tend to align in one direction or the other.

    Is it important to know the grain direction?

    Paper is susceptible to any moister, so it is important to know the paper grain direction.

    For binding
    It is ideal to have the grain of the pages, end papers, lining paper, and boards used for the case...etc. to be barreled with the book spine, in order to eliminate the unnecessary stress on the hinges and for the ease of turning of the pages.
    For paper restoration (paper mending)
    Normally we are using Japanese paper for conservation and restoration process specially in paper mending, suppliers now a days providing a mechanical made Japanese paper and tissue (unless they say it is hand mad), so knowing the grain direction for mending paper well be as the same concept of having the grain direction barreled to the gutter or to the spine or to be as the same direction as the original paper. So that, old paper (original) and new paper (that we use for mending) have their tension factor and did not act differently with the temperature and humidity changes. 
    For customized box and mount making
    when the grain direction for all customized box materials and customized document mounts is parallel to its hinges, it will open flat with the grain and last longer.

    Short grain and Long grain.

      It is depending on how it was cut in relation to its grain direction. For example, when the grain direction moves parallel to a paper short side that means it is short grain,
    On the other hand, if the grain direction is parallel to the long side (like most of A4 Paper that we use in printers) it called a long grain. So if the grain direction is as long as the length of the whole piece of paper, then it is a long grain sheet. 
    For example:
    • if we have an 11×17 sheet of paper, the grain is running parallel to the 17-inch edge of the sheet and is referred to as Long Grain.
    • If the paper is 17×11, then the grain is running parallel to the 11-inch edge of the paper and is referred to as Short Grain.

    Mechanical made papers & Handmade papers grain direction!

    Once you get a mechanical made paper that means for sure you have a grain direction and this is because of the mechanism of paper making machines,
    during the paper manufacturing process a bulb path with what called mesh screening is to be used instead of using a mold frame in hand made paper making, the machine using mesh screening which is moving on relays with running water and mold continually, making paper rolls, the direction which is the bulb is running throw the mesh screening makes the fibers mostly aligned in the same direction of the bulb and mash screening movement. this movement direction is the grain direction for mechanical made paper after drying.
    Bulb movement direction during mechanical paper mad process

    In opposite side Handmade papers do not typically have a grain direction because all the fibers that make up the paper lay in all different directions when it is dried.
    Handmade paper



    What if folding in a wrong grain direction (against the grain direction)?

    Generally In folding against the grain, you are folding the fibers. This cause weaken or split for the fibers, resulting in cracks and tears in the paper based materials.
    folding effect
    Folding effect with and against grain direction on Carton
    Folding effect with and against grain direction

    Folding against grain direction - card 
    Folding with the grain direction - card

    Now it is clear that folding against the grain direction cause weaken for the fiber which will make the folding gutter completely weakness and causing cracks and tears, that is why it is recommended that during binding or restoration process you should fold your paper based materials to the grain direction and the grain direction should be paralleled to the book spine during binding.

    Easy ways to determine the paper grain direction, please see this video.




    5 Methods to determine the paper grain direction, and know the effects of folding papers in the wrong direction.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sorry English is not my first language but sharing experience is a global language

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    By: Sherif Afifi | July 12, 2015

       Attaching a new thread to a short one during book quires sewing...

    I understand that this topic maybe not a knowledge target for binders and conservators professionals who normally knows by heart how to do attaching a new thread to the short one during sewing process and we do it thousands of times on our daily binding and sewing work.
    So! what features this knot do you think it should carry?
    Features!! what a strange word for such a very basic and regular process for bookbinder and book conservators as well, but think carefully now!
    mmmm yes! it should be:
    • Strong, which means that when we continue sewing and pull the new threat it should be strongly attached and knotted to the small (old) one.
    • Even if you will attach the new thread from inside the quires or outside it (from the spine depend on your technique) you still DO NOT want to have a large solid knot which will cause a large hole when you trying to take it throw to the inside of the sections (in case of you prefer this technique). and also if it is large knot it will make a bad appearance to your final sewing quality and maybe quires themselves.
    • What if you have only a very short end thread? in a case of accidentally cut off the threads for example, and you are not then happy to reverse the sewing for the last quire to get a longer thread end to make you easily able to knot it with the new one.
    Book Sewing
    So now you understand that your new thread should be attached to the short one with 3 basic features
    1. strong knot.
    2. small knot.
    3. easily attached to a short end.
    performing a weaver's knot will give you all those features and here is step by step picture tutorial teaching you how to do this knot.

    note: I am using here 2 thread colors to make it easy for this tutorial to distinguishes the process
    Short thread (A) White & new thread (B) blue
    I will point to the short thread (the thread that is in your quire) with the White(A) thread and the new one (which you wont to knot with the short one) with the Blue(B) thread in the tutorial pictures.

    step 1:
    Loop the new thread (B)


    The longer end of the thread (B) is brought up throw the loop


    Pull up the long end from the middle of the loop then pull together the longer and the shorter ends of thread (B) until it makes a sort of hanging knot.

    Step 2:
    Place over the short end (A) of the old thread inside the loop, the encircling loop must not be tightened.


    Pull both longer and shorter ends together for the new 
    thread (B) in an opposite direction.






    Step 3:

    Now the tricky part and you should be sure that you did it as I explain or as the photo shown below, otherwise, your knot will fail to be strongly attached to the old one. >>>
    The new thread (B) is tightened the short end (A) throw the encircling loop which tightens behind it as shown in pic(8)

    pic(8)

    Note: In all previous steps, only the new thread (B) ends (the shorter one and the longer) pulled.

    NOW you tighten the knot pulling both threads the short one (A) and the new one (B) from both long sides to completely knotted them, 


    Both short ends (A) & (B) are cut quite close to the knot if you do this knot outside the quires (from the spin direction) carefully take this knot through the inside of the section as sewing is continued.



    This tutorial blog is for those who like to print and keep a copy in their reference library, but for thous who prefer to watch a tutorial video, here is one that I have made for you.

     Happy Sewing ;)
    -------------------------
    Conservator Sherif Afifi

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

    By: Sherif Afifi | July 12, 2015

       Attaching a new thread to a short one during book quires sewing..

    I understand that this topic maybe not a knowledge target for binders and conservators professionals who normally knows by heart how to do attaching a new thread to the short one during sewing process and we do it thousands of times on our daily binding and sewing work.
    So! what features this knot do you thing it should carry ?
    Features!! what a strange word for such a very basic and regular process for book binder and book conservators as well, but think carefully now!
    mmmm yes! it should be:
    • Strong, which means that when we continue sewing and pull the new threat it should be strongly attached and knot to the small (old) one.
    • Even if you will attach the new thread from inside the quires or outside it (from the spine depend on your technique) you still DO NOT want to have a large solid knot which will cause a large hole when you trying to take it throw to the inside of the sections (in case of you prefer this technique). and also if it is large knot it will make bad appearance to your final sewing quality and maybe the quires themselves.
    • What if you have only a very short end thread? in case of accidentally cut of the threads as example, and you are not then happy to reverse the sewing for the last quire to get a longer thread end to make you easily able to knot it with the new one.
    Book Sewing
    So now you understand that your new thread should be attached to the short one with 3 basic features
    1. strong knot.
    2. small knot.
    3. easily attached to a short end.
    performing a weaver's knot will give you all those features and here is step by step picture tutorial teaching you how to do this knot.

    note: I am using here 2 thread colors to make it easy for this tutorial to distinguishes the process
    Short thread (A) White & new thread (B) blue
    I will point to the short thread (the thread that is in your quire) with the White(A) thread and the new one (which you wont to knot with the short one) with the Blue(B) thread in the tutorial pictures.

    step 1:
    Loop the new thread (B)



    The longer end of the thread (B) is brought up throw the loop


    Pull up the long end from the middle of the loop then bull together the longer and the shorter ends of thread (B) until it make a sort of hanging knot.

    Step 2:
    Place over the short end (A) of the old thread inside the loop, the encircling loop must not be tightened.


    Pull both longer and shorter ends together for the new 
    thread (B) in a opposite direction.











    Step 3:

    Now the tricky part and you should be sure that you did it as I explain or as the photo shown below, otherwise your knot will fail to be strongly attached to the old one. >>>
    The new thread (B) is tightened the short end (A) throw the encircling loop which tightens behind it as shown in pic(8)

    pic(8)

    Note: In all previous steps, only the new thread (B) ends (the shorter one and the longer) pulled.

    NOW you tight the knot pulling both threads the short one (A) and the new one (B) from both longer sides to completely knot them, 


    Both short ends (A) & (B) are cut quite close to the knot, if you do this knot outside the quires (from the spin direction) carefully take this knot through the inside of the section as sewing is continued.



    This tutorial blog is for those who like to print and keep a copy in their reference library, but for thous who prefer to watch a tutorial video, here is one that i have made for you.



    Happy Sewing ;)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sorry English is not my first language but sharing experience is a global language

    Category: Uncategorized 

    Tags:

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