The Restoration of Leather Bindings

by Bernard C. Middleton

Adamantine Press, 1972
Reprinted by Oak Knoll Press and The British Library in 1998

readability rating
4 star readability rating Well written and well illustrated.
content rating
5 star content rating Middleton brings a wealth of experience in restoration to his writing, and takes enough time to share that wealth effectively.

I bought this book at Border's in Glasgow. It's a beautiful, clear text on how to do restorative bindings, by a very experienced binder. Restoration is a different skill than binding afresh, requiring a finer grasp of a wider variety of techniques. This is a very advanced book; I suspect I will be a long time learning from it.

The Good Stuff
It is a comprehensive review of restoration techniques. Unlike my other books, which only touch on restoration as a reason for rebinding, this book advocates preservation and partial rebinding as well as complete re-doing of a binding. The explanations are clear and the illustrations helpful.
Could Do Better
Like many bookbinding books on the market today, this is a reprint of an older book. It was originally published in 1972. As a result, all of the illustrations are in black and white. Although they are not contrasty and ugly like many black and white illustrations, they do make his points on colour matching very hard to follow.
Best Bit
The author has a real passion for his work. He is very, very harsh on bad restorative work. Like any negative review, these descriptions make entertaining reading.