Like many conservators, tools interest me. They allow my hands to execute very specific actions in a more exacting fashion than they could alone. On the whole, a knife, for example, makes a cleaner cut than the tear made without one. A spatula lifts a thin piece of bookcloth with more accuracy than a fingernail. It’s valuable to keep in mind that occasionally to tear is the better action than to cut—sometimes speed beats accuracy or the feathered edge is more appropriate.
In my conservation work I use a fairly small selection of tools, only venturing outside this basic set when the repairs stray from the usual. My basic hand tools:
Tools for cutting:
Tools for sewing:
Tools for lifting:
Recently, the blog of the Preservation Department at Parks Library of Iowa State University had a detailed post on microspatulas, including photos of them in action.
Tools for scoring, folding, and pressing:
Tools for gluing, measuring, and stabilizing:
If tools interest you too, then you may wish to follow Jeff Peachey’s blog. He writes about tools, as well as makes and sells them.
Tools for bookbinding and conservation are available from a variety of vendors, including local hardware, craft, and stationary stores, as well as those businesses catering specifically to the conservation and binding fields. Additionally, the vendor room at the Guild of Book Workers Standards of Excellence Seminar each year provides a great opportunity to see a wide range of tools and supplies, and to support the vendors who keep the specialized items available to practitioners. The vendor room is open to all, not just conference attendees. A list of past vendors can be found on the Standards website.
A list of supplies and services for bookbinding and conservation can be found here.
Written by Stephanie Wolff.