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In book conservation and restoration, there are many different ways to deal with a book but there are four main considerations:  shelf appeal, historic value, dollar value and use.  

For many people, keeping a book in one piece for future generations to enjoy is paramount.  For others, there is a strong desire to have the book look as if it was just off the shelf 200 years ago.

Both of these paths are valid and are usually possible unless a book has reached a point of no return.  Two further factors come into play also -- affordability.  Full restorations are very costly (potentially thousands of dollars) while conservation repairs are very affordable (sometimes under $100).

Conservation. In doing any basic repair or restoration work, we use as much of an original book as possible, reinforced as required and replacing parts only when necessary.  Normally, this involves repairing or replacing spines and reattaching boards.  This gives the customer a solid, long-lasting book to enjoy for generations.  Depending upon the customer’s desires, it can also produce a visually appealing book.

For example, repairing a spine (the part you normally see on the shelf) is really dependent on the customer’s desired level of keeping it original.  Replaced spines will look as good on a shelf as the materials a customer chooses to use. Leather looks great, but is more expensive, for example.

This is the method most often used since it is the most affordable.

Extensive repairs. If you need or want more than a basic repair, we can rebuild (recase) a book using as much of the original material as feasible.  This type of repair goes from creating new boards to recasing.  This gives customers many options, including whether to bind in leather instead of cloth or to choose other unique materials.

While the results of extensive repairs can produce works of art, it comes at a price.  Extensive repairs are time, labor and material extensive.  That means the cost of these repairs is normally much higher than a conservation repair and take longer to complete.

Beyond extensive repairs.  There are some levels of restoration that we normally will not do.  Recreating blindstamps or retooling leather may go beyond our time and resource constraints.  That said, we have great contacts in which to refer you.

Book conservation, repair and binding services are a unique and dying art.

Colonial Folk Art is proud to be one of the few locations in the Hampton Roads area to offer these services.

All of our conservation, repair and binding services are done in the studio using the highest quality materials.  

Whether it's restoring a family Bible, replacing the spine of an 18th Century novel, reattaching the boards of a 19th Century history book or just doing a solid cleaning of a 17th Century poetry book, we can help you preserve and protect your cherished books.

Book Conservation, Restoration & Binding

Colonial Folk Art logo

“Primum Non Nocere*”

Basic Repairs

*  Reattach spines

*  Recreate spines

*  Reattach pages


Extensive repairs

*  Board replacement

*  Partial rebinding


Extensive restoration

*  Page replacement

*  Full rebinding  

About what we do (and don’t do) ...

Will we restore your treasured book?

Chances are, yes.  We must evaluate the condition of the book and get a solid understanding of your ultimate vision for the book before we'll agree to any work.  From that information, we can make recommendations for work and give estimated costs.  Once we agree to it all, we'll give you a firm price so you know what you’re paying from the start.

We will ALWAYS do a topnotch job working on your book. We’ll always make sure that you have a clear expectation of the results.  We will NEVER take on a project that won’t produce good results in the eyes of the customer.  If a book is too far gone, we’ll be upfront and let you know -- we don’t charge for an estimate.  And we will never enter into a project that a client cannot afford -- remember, good conservation repairs don’t preclude doing extensive restorations later.

Now for the fine print disclaimer ... doing extensive repairs to valuable books can diminish the value. We only recommend having repair or restoration work on valuable books done to the minimum level to keep them from further deterioration.

* “Do no harm”

Please visit us at 110 Bacon Ave. to see the studio, meet Davie and watch him restore and conserve antiquated books.

Our Conservator

Davie Burgdorf

  • Books needing repair

    We transform books with needs ...

  • ... including serious "injuries" ...

  • ... or maybe just some TLC ...

  • ... back into prized possessions.

  • From reattaching boards ...

  • ... to a simple clean-up ...

  • ... to a total rebinding or re-casing ...

  • ... we can transform your book or bookcase.

  • ... into an antiquated book library!