Book Restoration & Book Repairs

Book Repairs & Book Restoration


I have been mending and restoring old leather and cloth books for private clients, museums and libraries since 1985.

If you have a special book in need of professional repair, then I'd be delighted to restore it to its former glory for you.

I always endeavour to retain as much of the original binding as possible and use only traditional materials and methods in my work.

Prices start from only £69 so please feel free to email or call me. I'd be only too happy to talk to you about your book.


Eila Ramsay-Clapham



Phone: +44 (0) 1877 384759

Leather Book Repairs

Find out about DIY book restoration

  What I can restore ...
  Split or broken spine
  Loose stitching
  Loose pages
  Torn pages
  Torn marbled paper
  Damaged leather
  Damaged book cloth


  The Crannog Book Bindery
  Balquhidder, Lochearnhead,
  Perthshire FK19 8PB       


Book Restoration book repairsbook restoration

Site Design by The Ramsay Group    Copyright 2009 All rights reserved



This is a new section we have just added, so please bear with us while it is completed!


For some of you, the challenge of repairing an old leather or cloth bound book yourself might appeal, so in this section we will help guide you through an elementary DIY book repair.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT BOOK TO START! Our first tip is to start with a small-ish damaged book that doesn't matter too much - just in case it all goes wrong! (and remember if all goes wrong, you can always send it to us to sort out!)

There are many types of book binding and each requires a different approach and methodology for restoration.  Because there are so many, we are going to concentrate on the most common type of hardback binding for these DIY repair instructions. This is known as the "Hollow Spined Flexible Binding."

To identify whether the book you want to repair has this type of binding, lay the book on a table and then open it up in the middle. Look along the spine and if there is a hollow tube (through which you can see) running along the length of the spine, then you have a "hollow tube flexible binding" book, and this set of instructions is relevant.

So grab your book and get ready!

Clear a well lit table, where you can leave the book, the repair materials and tools untouched whilst you go through the process.

Before we start please familiarise yourself with the parts of a book shown in the diagram to the right and then select the repair type from the list below the diagram.

  Select the type of book restoration you wish to perform...  
  • Split or broken spine

  • Loose stitching

  • Loose pages

  • Torn pages

  • Torn marbled paper

  • Damaged leather

  • Damaged book cloth





Split Book Spine or spine detached from the covers
  • Scalpel or sharp knife

  • Linen book tape (material tape usually about 1cm wide)

  • Mull/crash (thin but strong weave/gauze/muslin or netting)

  • Glue (Reversible PVA glue)

  • Craft paper (Strong brown parcel/wrapping paper)

  1. OPEN UP BOOK: Separate whole book cover by cutting along the hinge where the cover board joins the pages of the book on the inside. Detach the entire cover. You may have to cut through linen tapes and any mull (crash/gauze) to do this.
  2. STRENGTHEN SPINE: There are many alternatives here but we'll keep it simple. Start by applying glue onto the spine (folded backs of the sections/ signatures). Then cut your 1cm wide linen tape into three pieces all of which are 6cm longer than the thickness of the spine. Stick the linen tapes onto the back of the spine so that a 3cm tail is left loose on either side. The two end tapes would be at least 2 cm from the ends of the spine. (To keep life simple for you, I am not going to include instructions on headbands at this point – they are not necessary in all cases of spine repair). Then cut a piece of mull just short of the length (height) of the spine. Width wise the mull should be cut the same width as the length of the tapes (The spine width + 3cm each side). Apply some glue over the whole of the spine and then stick on the mull with 3cm protruding from each side. Run your finger over the mull to ensure it has adhered. Allow to dry for 1-2 hours.
  3. MAKE HOLLOW SPINE: Once this is dry, get a piece of strong brown wrapping (parcel) paper – known as craft paper. Cut it to be 6cm longer than the page height and three times the width of the spine. Fold this paper inwards lengthways so that it becomes the same width as the spine and a third of its original width. Stand the book up with the spine facing to the ceiling and wedge between two bricks/other large books so it is steady and self-supported.
  4. Using the reversible PVA, apply the glue to the spine and with the folds facing upwards, stick the brown craft paper onto the spine, centring it lengthwise so that you have the same overlap both top and bottom.
  5. Using more glue, then stick the second fold of the craft paper down onto the first to create a tube. Rub with your hand to ensure it adheres well and then allow to dry fro a further 1-2 hours.
  6. Once dry, remove the book from its supports and hold in one hand. Slightly open the book and then taking a small pair of scissors and cut down the crease lines in the craft paper until you reach the spine of the book. Leaving the two outer layers of folded paper then cut across the end of the spine, to trim the inner single piece of craft paper to be flush with the end of the spine. Trim the two remaining craft paper tails so that they are thinner at the ends, than at the point where they meet the spine. In other words trim down to the spine cutting an ever decreasing slither off each side.
Loose stitching Coming Soon!  
Loose pages Coming Soon!  
Torn pages Coming Soon!  
Torn marbled paper Coming Soon!  
Damaged leather Coming Soon!  
Damaged book cloth Coming Soon!  

Site Design by The Ramsay Group    Copyright 2009 All rights reserved