Friday, 8 January 2016

Repairing the "Book of the Astronomican"

Hello gents & gentiles,

Today I present to you my rather hamfisted (but ultimately successful) step-by-step process of repairing an old softcover book. The tome in question is one that I've coveted for many many years, but my wallet had remained steadfast in not yielding its bounty for the ridiculous amount of coin that is generally asked for it. So I waited......and waited.....and waited some more, until I finally got one! All for the princely sum of $15!!! But, it needed some TLC & I was up for the challenge!

Read on! If you want to know more.....

Looked "OK" from the outside.

But from the wasn't :(

So, out come the pages....carefully.

Pry the front & rear book covers apart.

Aided with a bit of gentle persuasion :)

With glue this old & brittle it doesn't take too much to remove the pages.

Old glue still stuck to the bulk of the pages.

But pulls away pretty easily.

Then your left with the cover sheet

Removed the traces of old glue.

Pulling one page away from the "glue slab" at a time....carefully.

More of the same fun.

Until I ended up with all of the pages unattached from each other.

I then removed the remaining glue from the front and back pages where it meets the covers near the spine.  

I roughened up the spine of the cover, to provide a better purchase for the glue.

Roughening process complete.

Clamped to the bench after stuffing about lining up the pages.

I used baking paper under & over the page block....too make sure the glue only stuck to the pages and nothing else.

Once this was clamped I applied about four or five thin coats of Latex glue to the spine. Waiting for each coat to dry fully before applying the next. Once that was done I tested the page block to see if the repair was successful, before I proceeded with the rest of the process.

Then I applied Latex glue to the cover spine & installed the page block. Lined it up & put a couple of sheets of baking paper between the front & back cover to ensure the glue that inevitably squeezes out from the spine doesn't stick the covers & pages together.

The two sheets of baking paper installed up to where you don't want
the glue to adhere.

Clamped to the bench for a few days to make sure the glue had fully cured.

All done, pages not falling out....awesome!

The spine & front /rear sections reattached correctly.

Looks good to me :)

This rock'n dude gave it his seal of approval too :)

Final notes:

I used Latex glue, as PVA glue dries quite hard/brittle. Where as the former is still flexible once fully cured. I think the hardest part of the whole process was getting the page block lined up before clamping. I'm a bit of a stingy bastard, so instead of buying or making a proper page block clamp I improvised. It did the job! But I'm sure if I had had the correct clamping tool it would have made the process a lot easier.

This copy of the Astronomican wasn't even glued along the narrow section (front & back) near the spine. Hence, why it had started to fall apart. Anyway, I'm a happy chappy now, coz I've got the book I've wanted for ages.... in good condition :)

Now, I can almost hear through the web, you guys asking, "How the hell did you manage to get hold of a copy of the Book of the Astronomican for $15!!!??". Well, I'll tell you, as it stands, I now have all of the old RT/WFB tomes that I've ever wanted. So I'm happy to pass on my little secret to collecting old GW tomes, which to tell you the truth probably isn't much of a secret anyway! But here goes......have a look on AbeBooks I've collected over half of the books from their listed booksellers over the years. And I've gotten them all quite cheaply, as they either don't know the value of what they have and/or they've incorrectly listed them with spelling or ISBN errors. Their lack of knowledge about their own stock is my gain.....and now it can be yours too :)

Anyway, all the best, catch you later :)


  1. NIc enew blog display and awesome repair skills ! I love fixing old books but i've never dared such an ambitious task ! It must feel great to hold that newly restored book in hand, congrats !

    1. Thanks JB,

      The new display looks better, but damn Blogger is a bit of a bastard to customize! I think I'll leave it alone for a while now :)

      It's surprisingly easy to repair these old books. They did such a nasty job on them when they first bound them that the glue almost falls off.

      Now that I've got my "precious", I'm as happy as a pig in shit I tell you :)

      Cheers buddy.

    2. How I understand you on both points (blogger's bastardise and you being hot like a sausage)

  2. Such a great artefact. Mine is disintegrating but I just put a clip-on plastic spine on it.

    1. Yeah, I had a pretty crappy PDF version for a few years. The picture quality is not the greatest...which is a problem with this RT book in particular, as there's a tonne of pretty colour pictures throughout it.

      That's a nifty little trick you did with the clip-on plastic spine! There's not too many of these tomes still kicking around unfortunately. So you can't easily replace them, unlike RT, there's still a shit load of them available.

      cheers :)

  3. I picked mine up at least 20 years ago. It was ancient then, but not so collectable. I still think of it as 'chapter approved' because that's what it was originally called (it refers to itself as this) but I think there were a couple of later books also called this.

    1. Yeah, I think there was a period for a while there where just about second publication GW put out had "Chapter Approved" plastered across the front of it :D

  4. Wow, I'm truly impressed, you are a Renaissance man!

    1. Cheers Suber, I couldn't let this old classic fall apart. Now it'll be good for another thirty odd years :)

  5. Nice bit of work there Mr P, she looks good as new =)
    Alas, my drinking and associated debauchery prevent me from owning such an artifact!

    Please put it's ancient contents into use with an entertaining bat rep soon?!

    1. Hey Ace,

      It's as close to tip top as I can make's a good'n :)

      And I look forward to reading an entertaining batrep of your drinking & associated debauchery adventures soon too pal :p

      Cheers :)

  6. Why aren't there more wolf time campaign battle reports? Maybe a photo of Rick Priestley in flying goggles is enough.

    1. I've read one or two....I think? I know I've read one for sure though. I held off reading the scenario in my PDF for ages, coz I didn't want to spoil it if I ever played it. I finally gave in and read it last year, it's a really cool concept. I think it'd be great to GM and/or play in it. But I can't justify getting X amount of jetbikes just for one scenario....I think I'd use proxies :)

      Have you ever ran it or participated in it? Did you do a write up of it? How'd it go?

      It's a shame that GW dropped the whole scenario pack thing. RT and WFB got the same treatment unfortunately. Would have been cool if the continued it! I know they did "similar" scenario stuff later, but it was really nothing more than consecutive battle after battle to decide an ultimate winner....yawn :(

      Thanks Scalene.