What’s more beautiful than seeing an old book restored to its old glory? Japanese craftsman Nobuo Okano is the Tokyo-based master who gives life to old books by restoring them to near mint condition.
In this particular project, Okano restores a 1,000-page dictionary on an episode of the Japanese show called “Shuri, Bakaseru” (The Fascinating Craftsman).
The book, which is a much admired English-Japanese dictionary, is rich with history as it served Okano throughout is junior high and high school years and into his adult life.
Okano’s customer will pass down this treasured book to his daughter who is now entering college.
The process of restoring the book is meticulous. Okano must first clean off the glue from the book’s spine to repair its pages and create a solid a base.
He then unfolds each corner using a tweezer before ironing each page flat. Since the pages are stained with purple ink, Okano must use a guillotine book cutter to remove those edges.
At the end of the episode, the restored book is given to the jubilant customer’s daughter.
This is how the old book looks in the beginning
The first part is cleaning up the spine of the book, removing the old glue and whatever got stuck to it
The new paper doesn’t match the old colors, but it’s a good fix nonetheless
Next, comes the “fun”: straightening corners on every page, one by one
Now comes the ironing
Next stop: the purple ink, and the initials YN, who belonged to the client’s high school sweetheart
The page cutting machine is huge, and slices through the thousand pages effortlessly. Cutting the edges didn’t damage anything important, though the letter guide is a little misshapen now
Finally, the cover. The old one was worn beyond repair (indicating a long life of active use). Nobuo gave the book a new cover, however, it was embellished with the salvaged title piece from the original
Check out the video
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