Shaken Binding Problem: The book in your hand feels like it has been read a hundred times. The text block is sagging away from the case. The hinges are not torn but they don’t have a tight feel to them.

Tools: Stick, a dowel, kniting needle, chopstick or bamboo skewer. PVA: pH neutral bookbinding glue.


  1. Stand the book upright and spread the boards, opening the hollowback as wide as possible.
  2. Coat a long thin stick (a dowel or thin knitting needle works well) with glue, NOT a lot of glue, just a smidgen.
  3. Insert the stick into the hollowback and run it against the inside of the hinge on each side of the spine. Apply glue to the hinges, NOT the spine itself. If you are not adept at applying minute amounts of glue, roll a piece of wax paper into a tube and tuck it into the hollowback before you begin.
  4. Close the book evenly and put it under weight overnight. It should sound crisp the first time you open it.