Frequently asked questions

Where did you get your training?
On the job, and through internships. For the details, see my bio.

Where are you located?
In Berkeley, California.

How much do you charge?
Unfortunately, it's not possible to make an accurate estimate without seeing the actual book. My charges are based on $60/hour. This means that for octavo-size cloth-bound books, the cost will rarely be under $100 or over $300. On projects which require specially-ordered materials (leather, cloth or paper, mainly), I pass the cost of the materials straight on, without markups.

Do you need a deposit?
If it is going to be more than $100, and we have not done business before, and you are not an ABAA member, yes, a deposit of 50% of the estimated repair cost. Otherwise, no.

How long does it take?
I aim to return books within three weeks of receiving them. If you have a specific deadline, we can set that up in advance, if you call first.

How should I ship to you?
First, we should discuss your book, on the phone or by email. Not all books are good candidates for successful repairs! I do not recommend using the US mail for anything valuable. The customer pays return shipping, unless other arrangements are made. If you want me to insure your book on the return trip, you must tell me what value to insure it for. Please send books well wrapped and cushioned.

Do you take credit cards?
No, check or money order only.

Do you do appraisals?
No, appraising is exceedingly complex and I leave it to the experts.

Can you remove mold or water damage?
Usually not. Here's a good article about mold: Invasion of the Giant Mold Spore. A paper conservator is the person who can remove mold and stains from water damage for you.

Can you take off old scotch tape?
Sometimes. Conservators call tapes such as Scotch tape, masking tape and electrical tape "pressure-sensitive" tapes. What they have in common is that they contain solvents. The solvents gently evaporate over time, and as they do so, the adhesive's molecules change. As the molecule changes, the characteristics of the adhesive do, too. They generally stop being sticky, becoming either liquid, or crusty. They change color, ranging from pale yellow to deep amber. They also become harder to remove, requiring increasingly toxic and powerful solvents. The less time the tape's been on, the better chance of getting it off well, and so if it hasn't been on too long, I can often get it off successfully, and repair both the damage caused by the tape, and the damage the tape was originally supposed to repair. But for older tape, you need a paper conservator.

Aren't books made of paper? Why can't you do it?
Seems funny, I know. But it's not my area of expertise. Conservation ethics require that I not attempt repairs I'm not set up to complete properly, and using powerful solvents responsibly requires a proper lab.