This photo album arrived without a spine and with most of the leather on the front and back covers sloughed off. The original hinges were in disarray and falling apart.
The album laid flat but it wasn’t structurally stable.
First, I stabilized the hinges and added a new spine lining. Then, I built a new case for the book and stamped the name of the album’s original owner on the front cover. The joints on this new case are extra large–nearly an inch wide–because, even with a relatively stiff spine, I wanted the book to open flat and stay that way without strain.
Once in a while, I come across a book that feels just right: satisfying in relation to my hands and body, rewarding to look at from far away and up close, and exciting to open and close just to observe the mechanics of it. This book is now both very old and very new, but its functionality hasn’t changed throughout the centuries.