Book Dressing for Leather Books

Today a customer asked me how best to care for his leather books.  My answer to this question is usually advising them to get  some book dressing from Talas. The book dressing I use I make myself. (a combination of neatsfoot oil and lanolin).  But this customer was not a dealer or collector.  He just wanted to keep a few non descript leather books in good condition and he didn’t want to order anything special.  “There must be something around the house that I can use?” was his question.

A number of years ago I encounted a book dealer who swore by “CVS hand cream”, “Unscented” he insisted.  A bit unorthodox I thought but I tried it.  I’m not in love with the idea for a number of reasons. But still the idea had some merit.  It takes a bit of extra rubbing to work the white cream, and as a commercial cream it had some merit that I  wouldn’t normally think of on books. But in the absence of anything better it did seem to hydrate the leather.

I think I’ll continue to recomend book dressing but in a pinch I’ll never forget the CVS handcream-unscented.

Charles Videto,

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Post-Incunabula vs Early Printing

  Greetings!    If you like old books, antique Bibles and manuscripts, or in general anything old that pertains to print books or history, then this is a good place to be!

   As owner and bookbinder at, this blog will be a place where I (we) can share knowledge, ideas, opinions and helpful hints about books, their care and repair, book history, trivia and historical tid-bits.

   All are invited to join in contribute or just visit and enjoy.

  Incunabula referes to printed material from 1450 to 1500.  It’s not uncomon to include things printed in the year 1501.  But more and more we see the term Post-Incunabula to include items printed up to the year 1525 or even a bit later. I’ve seen things printed as late as 1540 refered to as post-incunabula. Some refer to anything printed in the early part of the 16th century as “early printing”

Personally, I like the term Post-Incunabula. Often these Post-Incunabula items are more affordable to young collectors who like to attach the Latin label to their purchase.  I prefer to use the term “Early Printing” as it refers to a particular topic.  


Until later, 





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