How Not to Repair Your Old Bible With Duct Tape

The easy answer to the question “How to repair book spine with duct tape?” is that you just never, and I mean it, never use duct tape and most of the other types of tape on books and documents of at least some value.

Here are some photos we’ve got from Todd Davis, the person behind the Middlesex Bindery in Lowell and Boston, Massachusetts (United States).

Comment from the bindery:

I certainly understand the desire to make home-made repairs to a cherished book if the cover detaches. But don’t use duct tape. In fact, don’t use any household tape. Go to any craft store like Blick’s or Michael’s and look in the framing department for “gummed linen tape”. Lineco and Film-o-plast are two common brands. Make sure the box says “reversible” or “archive”. This will work well and the results will be reversible when you take the book in for professional repair. It may still cause some damage depending on the cover, but far, far less than household tape.

Using duct tape, or any other household tape will cause damage that may not be repairable. In this case, the duct tape removed the patina from the cover and will require more extensive “coverup”. Masking tape and Scotch/Cellotape/Invisible tape may come off (depending on the age), but even if it does, it will stain the cover and that cannot be fixed.

Also, remember that removing duct tape is very difficult and time-consuming (read: expensive), so you’re really not saving any money in the long run. Get the reversible gummed linen tape if you need something Right This Minute. And remember, if the cover is leather, do nothing and seek professional advice.

The best thing is to see a professional.

You can follow Middlesex Bindery on Facebook and Instagram, or you can visit their website.

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