Red Branch Book Restoration
Gather your Materials and Tools:
• Buy a small bottle of Elmer’s Glue. Dump out that glue and replace it with Jade 403.
• Low-tack blue painter’s tape is easiest to work with. But masking tape etc. work fine.
• Fabric tape measure
• A Four inch piece of Binder’s Board that is cut slightly off square by about 1/16th of an inch.
• Glue in a small cup-like container with a Flat Glue brush, maybe ½ inch
• Glue in a tray-like Tupperware container with a skewer poked through one end on which you will scrape the paint pad.
• Paint pad. The ones I use are white Styrofoam with green/white brushy pad from paint stores. I cut them in half and try not to breathe in the Styrofoam off-gassing that occurs when Styrofoam is cut. You could also use a roller or just a bigger glue brush. If you use these optional things you will not need the tray-like container necessarily.
• A board or flat something to put on the trays when they are assembled and something heavy to put on top of that. I had some fantastic powder-coated steel plates made for me in various sizes.
• A bone or Teflon folder.
• Damp rag in a bowl nearby for gluey fingers
• Waste sheets of paper like from magazines or anything really.
• 3M Stikit Sanding block and 150 grit paper or other sanding method
• Misting bottle of water
The small tray consists of the base with three sides standing on top of it. The back side piece goes edge to edge along one edge of the base. It does not matter which one as long as it matches up exactly with the size. Then the two smaller sides go up against this back piece and do not extend any further than the edge of the base piece. You can set them up with stuff supporting them all to make sure it looks about right.
Glue the Small Tray Together:
1. You will assemble the tray in this order: back side piece, one smaller side piece and then the other smaller side piece.
2. First take the small bottle of glue and run a line of glue along the back edge of the base that the back side piece will be on. Use one finger to keep the line steady by running it along the edge of the base while you are gluing. Eventually you will be really fast at this. You only want a line of glue not a flood. Use a finger to rub the line in a bit. Remember the purpose of it is to help the side piece adhere better. Eventually you can glue all three sides of the base at once because you will be so fast at assembling.
3. Now put pieces of tape along the bottom edge of the base piece so that when the back side piece is set onto the base piece that you can pull the pieces of tape up to help hold the piece in place. Work on this so that the back is near the edge of a table. You don’t need to tape every inch of it. Usually three or four pieces is sufficient.
4. Now run glue along one long edge of the back side piece. Keep in mind how it goes together with the base. It will not be glued on the same edge as the base. Instead it is glued on sort of the “bottom” of the back side piece.
5. Put the two pieces together paying close attention that it doesn’t stick out over either end and also keep an eye on the middle. An especially long piece can start to bow out. Hold it in place for ten seconds or so and then pull the tape up firmly to the back side piece.
6. Now run a line of glue along one of the short sides of the base and up onto the back side piece too where the next side piece will be attaching.
7. Add the tape to the bottom of the base and also the back of the back side piece where it will be attached.
8. Run a line of glue along one long edge and one short edge of a side piece. Orient this piece so the glued edges are aligned with the base and hold in place for about ten seconds. Attach the tape firmly.
9. Now take a second and set the tray on the table in front of you with the back side piece flat on the table so that you can run a bone folder on the bottom of the tray pushing the base against the back side piece. Do the same for the side piece you just attached and be sure to rub the corners too. If there is a lot of glue squeeze out remove it with your bone folder or whatever. It is actually a good thing to have a bit of extra glue along that connecting line so don’t scrape excessively. It will all be covered up in the end anyway.
10. Repeat steps 6 through 9.
11. Now place the board or flat thing on top of the tray with a bit of weight and look to make sure you are not bending the sides in or out. Let this sit until thoroughly dry. Hours perhaps.
12. While that is drying repeat all these steps for the Large Tray.
Remove Tape and Sand:
When the trays are dry remove the tape. Be sure you do not pull up part of the board with the tape. Sand the following edges using the Stikit sanding block: Outside edges of the sides, the corners and the fore-edge of the base. Do not over-sand! Just knock down the sharpness.
Measure for the Book-cloth and Cut:
This is where you use the cloth tape measure. The cloth will need to extend from ½ inch on the bottom of the base up and over the sides and down back onto the base for another ½ inch. The ½ inch is not crucial and could be larger or even a bit smaller. The other measurement is taken around the sides with an extra ½ inch at least on either end. It is much better to cut too much so be generous. The cloth should have the same grain direction as the sides of the tray. I prefer the book-cloth called Canapetta which is an Italian cotton cloth with a paper lining. It is somewhat stretchable and somewhat cleanable if you get gluey fingerprints on it, more so than silk anyway.
Apply Book-cloth to Trays:
In order to adhere the book-cloth to the tray you will be gluing all three tray sides just on the outside part and setting one of the short sides of the tray onto the cloth you just cut out and sort of roll the tray to get the cloth onto the other two sides. The tray is oriented on the cloth so that there will be a ½ inch turn-in for the bottom of the base and at least a ½ inch turn-in for the fore-edge of the short side. Be patient with the first side attachment and keep an eye on the base turn-in line as you turn the tray to the next side. Use the mister a bit to relax the book-cloth. Pay close attention to the corners and watch for air bubbles. Use a piece of clean paper and rub through that with a bone folder or with a piece of wax paper or just your hand to really flatten the book-cloth to the tray. Let this all be dry before you make your cuts. The first one should be dry enough to cut by the time you finish the second tray.• Do not make the book-cloth wet. A light humidification is all that is necessary. If the Canapetta becomes wet it will release the paper lining and then you will have to re-do it or inject pva into the gap and rub it down. It is a real problem either way. • Do not rub Canapetta with wax paper as it will become shiny.
The order is not really important so long as they all get done eventually.
1. Cut the two corners off the bottom of the base by pinching them and then cutting as flat as you can. Then cut as necessary so that there is no overlapping. This side will not show so you don’t have to be super neat. I like to glue these bottom turn-ins now to get them out of the way. Avoid squeeze out by being moderate in your glue application.
2. Cut the fore-edge “tab” lines next. On the fore-edge you will cut two straight-in lines that make a tab for each side (head and tail). Cut just shy of the edges.
3. Now make an angle cut for the flap just below the tabs you just created. The angle is cut so that when you fold that cloth over the cloth disappears into the crevice where the boards meet. You cut the angle so it ends just at a board’s width from the board itself.
4. Now take your off-square board and use it to draw lines with a pencil in 6 places on the book-cloth along the "top" of the tray. You are marking both back corner tabs and the fore-edge corners. Place the off-square just up to these areas and draw the lines to make it easier to cut a straight line with scissors. It is off square to help avoid cutting it too close to the edge. The tabs for the corners should wind up about ¼ inch wide.
5. Now cut the fore-edge corner flap into a triangle shape.
6. Go back to the corner tabs and with a bone folder poke them into place (no glue) and mark where it meets the base board. Trim the tabs so that they just come onto the base board by about 1/16th inch.
Now glue everything into place in this order.
1. Corner Tabs
2. Corner Triangles
3. Turn-in flap from the bottom (pull it into the crevice hard and flatten it well).
4. Fore-edge Tabs
• Use the mister to help the book-cloth relax.
• Be sure to pull the book-cloth over tightly. No bags or bubbles!!
• Rub down thoroughly with a folder.