In this week-long intensive workshop, students will be introduced to a wide variety of current techniques used to conserve leather bookbindings. Bookbinders, technicians, and conservators who wish to learn, expand, or refresh their treatment skills are all welcome. Previous bookbinding or conservation experience is required.
Detached boards are the most common place leather bookbindings fail, and all five primary methods of treating this will be taught: mechanical sewing extensions and tacketing, inner hinge repairs, interior-board repairs (both splitting and slotting), outer joint repairs, and several styles of rebacking. Many treatments involve a combination of these techniques. A board slotting machine will be available to use. Questions concerning methods of consolidating older leather, the archival qualities of modern leather, and leather dyes will be discussed. A variety of methods to pare, consolidate, and lift leather will be introduced. Since a sharp knife is crucial to success while working leather, sharpening will also be taught.
Students should bring six to eight non-valuable leather bound books to work on, though there will be additional books provided to practice with. Participants will be taught how to pare leather with a knife, use a board slotting machine, a modified 151 spokeshave, a variety of lifting knives and tools, and a double edge razor blade paring machine. There will be individual consultations with students before the workshop to discuss treatment goals for their chosen books, and determine if extra materials or tools might be required. Decision making based on the actual books will be discussed. The primary goal of this workshop is to equip participants with a more nuanced understanding of the pros and cons of currently practiced leather conservation techniques, gain supervised experience while performing them, and feedback when they are completed.
Instructor Bio: Jeffrey S. Peachey is an independent book conservator (https://jeffpeachey.com) and toolmaker (https://peacheytools.com) based in New York City. For more than 25 years, he has specialized in the conservation of books for institutions and individuals. Jeff is a Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation who has taught book conservation workshops internationally. He was recently awarded fellowships to support his current research into 19th century bookbinding from the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (Italy) and Rochester Institute of Technology’s Cary Collection (New York). Jeff is Visiting Instructor for the Library and Archives Conservation Education Consortium of Buffalo State University, New York University, and the Winterthur/University of Delaware. His latest publication is “Ausbund 1564: The History and Conservation of an Anabaptist Icon”.