Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rejoice, exult!

One of my most interesting projects lately was the repair of a copy of Bach's Christmas Oratorio. The full score belongs to my Mom, and has so for about 30 years now. And since every self-respecting church choir performs the Christmas Oratorio once a year, this piece of sheet music had definitely seen better times.

Purchasing a new copy was pretty much out of the question: After 30 years of singing Bach's tunes, my Mom had recorded such a wealth of notes and comments in the book, that it had become a nearly irreplaceable document.

So I gathered book loads of information on book repair and conservation, and got to work. After removing the old case and all glue residue with the help of wheat paste, I was able to separate the signatures.

The outer fold of each signature was torn or severely weakened in most of the gatherings; the rest of the signatures was in fairly good condition. I guarded the folds with strips of japanese paper. The strips aren't being cut, but torn wet, as the frayed edges blend into the pages better than a hard cut edge would.

After repairing all signatures I re-sewed the text block and made a new, stronger case for the precious piece.

I added new cream-colored endsheets to the text blook and cased in the book. Done! Rejoice! Exult!

More Before, During, and After pictures here.

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