MA Conservation Studies: Books and Library Materials student Emma Lau writes about learning the principles of sharpening and using basic machineries to produce an English paring knife, and how this lead her to modify a spokeshave for paring leather.
Book conservators are often faced with the challenge of working
with unfamiliar, idiosyncratic, and complex books. In such cases
making a model of a binding can be of great benefit and insight
into previous binding practices. This is especially true when
presented with a book found in a fragmented state.
One of the items I treated this year was a late 19th Century
Victorian scrapbook. The scrapbook was made for a child and the
contents directly reflect this. It was filled with clippings from
magazines, stickers, poems that referenced children stories,
animals, and other imagery which might have appealed to a child at
the time. Additionally, it was filled with elaborate, original
artwork by the woman who created it...
Among the various nineteenth century case bindings that rest on
the shelves in the West Dean Books department awaiting treatment
was one that was different to the rest. It was particularly
appealing as its binding was completely covered in
pressure-sensitive adhesive tape and it was therefore an
interesting challenge to take on for a beginning book conservation
While studying at West Dean, a key and sobering lesson I have
learned is that most of the objects you will work on as a book
conservator will be brown. Sometimes reddish-brown, sometimes
greenish-brown, but still basically brown.
Accordingly, there was cause for celebration when The Royal
Jubilee 1935 came across my bench. ...