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Three Basic Book Repair Procedures - Tipping-In Loose Pages

Carole Dyal and Pete Merrill-Oldham

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Tipping-in is a method for incorporating loose pages -- a detached leaf, replacement page, errata sheet, or other insert -- into a bound volume.

Materials required

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Assemble the following: polyvinyl acetate adhesive (PVA) in a low container, wide strips of scrap paper, waxed paper, a bone folder, a glue brush, a pressing board or glass plate, and a weight.

Step 1: Trimming the page and applying adhesive

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If the page to be tipped in is larger than the pages of the volume, carefully trim the page to size using a paper cutter. (For replacement pages, try to preserve original margin widths.) Sandwich the page, reverse side up, between two pieces of scrap paper, leaving 1/8-inch visible along the binding edge of the page. The top strip of scrap paper will protect the area that should not be glued. Apply a thin, even layer of PVA to the exposed 1/8-inch edge of the sheet.

Step 2: Positioning the page

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Carefully position the insert in place, setting it as far into the gutter as possible while ensuring that the edges are even with the rest of the text block.

Step 3: Securing the page

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With the tipped-in sheet squarely in place, and starting in the middle of the page and working out to the top and bottom, slide the tip of a bone folder along the front (unglued) side of the sheet to press it tight.

Step 4: Protecting the text block

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Place a sheet of waxed paper into the gutter between the insert and the page before it to protect the text block from excess adhesive.

Step 5: Pressing the volume

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Close the book. Place a pressing board or glass plate along the spine edge and set a weight on top. Let stand for several hours.

Conclusions - References

If intervention is prompt, the life of a book can often be extended at very low cost. Unfortunately, damage may progress beyond the point where these basic techniques can be effective. More extensive treatment or commercial library binding may then be warranted. On the following pages are abbreviated lists of sources for conservation information and training.

Further Reading

Collection Conservation Treatment: A Resource Manual for Program Development and Conservation Technician Training. Maralyn Jones, compiler. Berkeley: Conservation Department, The Library, University of California, 1993.

Greenfield, Jane. Books: Their Care and Repair. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1983.

Greenfield, Jane. The Care of Fine Books. New York: N. Lyons Books, 1988.

Kyle, Hedi. Library materials preservation manual. Bronxville, NY: Nicholas T. Smith, 1983.

Lavender, Kenneth and Scott Stockton. Book Repair: A How-To-Do-It: A Manual for Librarians. How-To-Do-It Manuals for School and Public Librarians, Number 4. New York: Neal Schuman Publishers, Inc., 1992.

Morrow, Carolyn Clark, and Carole Dyal. Conservation Treatment Procedures: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures For the Maintenance and Repair of Library Materials, second edition. Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1986. [Out of print.]

Ritzenthaler, Mary Lynn. Preserving Archives and Manuscripts. Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 1993.

Preservation of Library and Archival Materials: A Manual. Sherelyn Ogden, ed. Andover, MA: Northeast Document Conservation Center, 1996.

Bookcraft Guide: Simple Techniques for the Maintenance & Repair of Books [Available free and online from Gaylord Bros.]

Preservation Information On Line

Conservation OnLine [CoOL]:

Library of Congress, Preservation Directorate:


Sources of training


1438 W. Peachtree St., NW, Ste. 200
Atlanta, GA 30309-2955


14400 Midway Road
Dallas, TX 75244-3509
800-843-8482 | 972-991-6061 fax

To learn more about book repair workshops in your area contact your local bibliographic utility; state library, archives, or historical society; local chapter of the Guild of Book Workers; or regional conservation center.

Locate Professional Conservators Locate Certified Library Binders
American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works

1717 K Street NW Ste 301 Washington, DC 20006
202-452-9545 fax: 202-452-9328

Library Binding Institute

4440 PGA Blvd. Ste. 600
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
561-745-6821 | 561-472-8401 fax

We are most grateful to the following people whose contributions to this effort have been invaluable:

  • Julie Arnott, Sharla Richards and Christine S. Wiseman, SOLINET
  • Annie Armour, Dupont Library, University of the South
  • Whitney Baker, Diane Nester Kresh, Jo Anne Martinez, and Roberta Stevens, Library of Congress
  • Harry Campbell, ICI/Etherington Conservation Center
  • Steve Chapman and Jan Merrill-Oldham, Harvard University Library Preservation Center
  • Jeanne Drewes, Martha Jackson, and Lena Warren, Johns Hopkins University Libraries
  • John Dunphy, University Products, Inc.
  • Susan E. Lunas, conservator in private practice
  • Rob Mauritz, Library Binding Service
  • Mary Russell McMillen, Gutman Library, Harvard University
  • Peter D. Verheyen, Syracuse University Library
  • Jody McNichol
  • Will Meredith, Law School Library, Harvard University
  • Karen Motylewski, Conservation and Preservation Studies, GSLIS, University of Texas
  • Sally Moyer, Library Binding Institute
  • J C Noyes, Bridgeport National Bindery
  • Ralph F. Ocker and Millie Suter, Ocker & Trapp Library Bindery
  • Patricia E. Palmer, Virginia Commonwealth University Library
  • Paul Parisi, Acme Bookbinding
  • Rebecca Ryder, University of Kentucky Libraries
  • Abby Shaw, Conservation Resources International
  • Shannon Zachary, University of Michigan Libraries.
  • Carole Dyal is the Library Conservator for the University of Connecticut Libraries, Storrs, Connecticut
  • Pete Merrill-Oldham is Director of Marketing and Sales for Acme Bookbinding, Charlestown, Massachusett


 link to Bonefolder Extras & link to Bonefolder


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