Communion Of Dreams

It’s getting better all the time.*

Just a quick follow-up to my post about the incunable legal text.

After spending most of last week cleaning up the edges of the sheets, I’ve been working on re-joining the folios. The trick with this is to make sure all the pages wind up being the same size when they’re folded and ready to be sewn — because I don’t want to trim the text block to get a clean fore-edge.

The solution is to make up a simple jig on my workbench:


Lines drawn on the benchtop, some bookboard mounted to the edge. This will help me keep everything the right size and aligned correctly.

Down the center is some Reemay polyester fabric, which will not adhere to the Kozo repair strips.

The book originally had sections of four folios (folded sheets) per section. I can tell this because of the printing conventions of the time, which had a small counter at the bottom of each page indicating where it went in the book. Very handy. For my work, I only need to rejoin the innermost pair of sheets from each section — then the other sheets will be attached to that new center folio. This will keep everything positioned correctly, and make for a strong sewing structure.

Here’s a pic showing the positioning of a pair of sheets:

Notice the gap in the center.

Notice the gap in the center.

And here’s one with a shot of the Kozo repair strip applied. It’s a heavyweight Kozo (Japanese ‘mulberry’ paper), with a strong wheatpaste applied. Makes a great repair, but is completely reversible with a little water if anyone needs to re-do my repairs later. See:


The next step is to iron the strip down with a small tacking iron on moderate heat. This is done with another layer of Reemay between the iron and the Kozo. This gives a clean, flat edge to mount the other sheets.

Which will be my next step.

Jim Downey

*Of course.

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