Before you can even begin to think about how you might go about fixing something, you first have to know how it was put together
Editor's note: This post is the second in a series about the Jefferson Bible conservation project. Part one: "A Peek Inside the Conservation of the Jefferson Bible."
How does knowing how Jefferson's Bible was put together help us take it apart?
Book conservators always want to know how a book was bound. Before you can even think about how to fix something, you first have to know how it was made. An important method for identifying elements of the binding structure involves investigating deep in the center folds -- or gutter -- of the book, a dark place most readers never venture but one full of information to a trained eye.
The gutter of Jefferson's Bible posed many mysteries, including a series of paper "stubs" similar in color to the pages of Jefferson's Bible, but only about 1 cm in width. These folds of paper were used to compensate for the added thickness of the clippings Jefferson glued into the book. As any scrap-booker can tell you, too many extra pieces of paper in the middle of a book without added room at the spine means your book will never close properly!