The Book and Paper Group
The American Institute for Conservation

The Guard-O-Matic

by Connie Brooks

The guard-o-matic is a simple device designed to aid in mending or guarding torn folds in book sections. Barbara Meier-James of the Library of Congress was instrumental in its development, and many book conservators are already familiar with it.

To make a guard-o-matic, first select a material with a non-absorbent surface, such as Plexiglas or formica, for the base. The base should be large enough to support the book sections and most of the hinged part of the guard-o-matic. Then cut two pieces of 5-mil polyester film and a piece of tightly-woven 100% polyester fabric the length of the base and about five inches wide. Using double-sided tape, attach one piece of film to the base and adhere the fabric to that piece of film, as shown in the cross-section diagram. To attach the second piece of polyester film, place it an appropriate distance from the other piece of film and put a weight on it. One eighth of an inch is a good hinge width for most sections. Place a strip of double-sided tape on the film, about one thirty-second of an inch away from the hinge. Remove the backing from the tape, stick down the fabric and remove the weight. Tape down the other end of the cloth to keep it out of the way. It is easier to grasp the hinged piece of polyester film if it is allowed to extend beyond the base.

To use the guard-o-matic, paste out a guard and center it, adhesive side up, on the cloth hinge. It is important not to stretch the guard at this point. Place the folio to be repaired on the guard, taking into account the thickness of the section. A thin section may be placed almost at the center of the guard, but a thicker section will need to be placed farther back. Next lift up the hinged piece of film until it is lying on top of the section. Gently rub the guard with a bone folder through the guard-o-matic to ensure good adhesion. Lift back the hinge, remove the guarded section and dry it as usual.


Publication History

Received: Fall 1984

Paper delivered at the Book and Paper specialty group session, AIC 12thAnnual Meeting, Los Angeles, 1984

Papers for the specialty group session are selected by committee, based on abstracts and there has been no further peer review. Papers are received by the compiler in the Fall following the meeting and the author is welcome to make revisions, minor or major.