Victorian Bookbinders Guild

For all interested in the Art, Craft and Practice of Bookbinding                                             

the mistake over hot tools burned leather

A full leather copy of; The Perfume of Books,  by Erika Mordek,  a book on old bindings, so it deserves a full leather binding with a Cambridge Panel, a trade binding pattern from the late 1700's..  But  during the blind tooling an overhot tool burns the leather.


What to do now?

One specialist suggests making a feature out of the mistakes, another suggests burn them all and they will match.

But I think I must try to repair, but I have never done this before..


trace the faulty leather

So I start with  a tracing paper of the area. The tooling is a double line at the outside, a single line on the inside and a roll with pattern between.The upper diagonal is a double line.  So I think if I cut out the burned leather, and inlay a replacement, and retool, the lines will hide the repair. So I trace the tooling lines  to make a cutout jig.

make the cutting template





Seems like a good way to get the peice I need, but after cutting a few peices I decide the best way is to prick the tracing paper onto the leather and cut the replacement piece with a slight angle, holding the leather firmly with ruler pressure.. The cut the leather burnt peice out the same way prick the corners and use a ruler to sut straight lines with a slight undercut.


with the cut peice and the cutout of the faulty

Here is the cuttout of the damaged leather and the pieces matched to reinsert.






new piece inserted

The pieces well pasted and inserted with care to remove any traces of the paste. The put under light weights to dry.










 Dried awaiting retooling Now dried and awaiting the courage to get at it with the hot tools again. I will check each ones temperature more carefully now. I will add a picture of the final  after re tooling. Jim


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Victorian Bookbinders Guild Inc.  Incorporated 1981     Registration No A2896  ABN: 97 853 169 281     PO Box 355, Seddon West, Victoria 3011