The red velvet vampyre

About a month ago my lab moved temporarily from one campus to another. During the move out we unearthed many forgotten supplies, including some pieces of red velvet book cloth. Given that it’s probably not very “archival”, I was a little baffled as to why we had it in the lab in the first place.

Regardless it somehow made the move and reappeared in the new lab.

What happened next, well…let’s just say I found an appropriate use for it.

(Just to soothe the worriers out there…this is a general collections book from our circulating collection…not a special collections book! I don’t condone using red velvet for rebacks on rare books…it’s probably not acid free and also it picks up every little bit of dust nearby.)

Never back a book when you’re upset…

An overly backed book
An overly backed book

Wow, whoever originally backed this 19th century publisher’s binding should’ve really taken a moment to calm down and take a deep breath first before continuing. They really beat the heck out of it with the hammer!

Backing is  “the process of shaping a ridge or shoulder on each side of the spine of a text block prior to the application of the spine lining material.”

It was accomplished with the use of a backing hammer, while the book was held spine-up in a job backer (a special type of bookbinding press).


Had a bit of a splurge the other day at an auction… Not the little guy, the big guy! It’s a 17th century oak Bible box, and it looks an awful lot like my wee model of a chained book and lectern by Bryson and sons. Now I just need to buy a 17th century Bible to go in it! (The book currently on the stand is a copy of Erasmus’s Moriae Encomium, published in 1648)

Here’s a conservation treatment of a miniature bible on a podium, like this one!

Free Webinar: Creating Scrapbooks That Last


May 1, 2015 

12:30pm – 1:30pm

Registration deadline: April 30, 2015
Maximum class size: 95
Class level: Beginner
Instructor: Frances Harrell, NEDCC Preservation Specialist
Location: Live Webinar

Scrapbooks are unique artifacts that represent personal and historical records, but often include a mix of materials and formats that present a range of preservation issues. This webinar will introduce archival materials and resources that can be used to construct stronger, more durable scrapbooks that can withstand the test of time.  Preservation suppliers, archival binding methods, and other resources will be discussed.

This webinar is presented free for Preservation Week. For information on Preservation Week and links to additional resources, please visit:

Who should attend?

This introductory webinar is designed for family collectors who want to extend the life of their personal scrapbooks.


Rusty Rusalka – Collection Care blog

Rusty Rusalka – Collection Care blog