How to Repair Warped Pages From Humidity in Books

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Things You'll Need

  • 4 clamps

  • Hair dryer

  • Dehumidifier (optional)

Tip

Table-mounted vices and clamps are easier and sturdier to use but four or five hand-held clamps ensure even distribution of pressure with better flattening results. Use a fifth clamp in the center of the book for thick or extremely warped texts. Make sure the clamp head is at least as wide as half of your book’s width. Place the warped book between two flat, heavy objects, such as cinder blocks or 20-pound dumbbell weights resting inside a baking pan, as an alternative to the clamp method. The longer you leave the books tightly clamped in a cool, dry area, the straighter your pages will become. Leave the books to straighten in a small room with a dehumidifier running for best results.

Warning

This method may not work as well for hardcover books and can possibly damage the covers. Use this method on hardcover books with caution.

Warping occurs faster in high-humidity areas.

Even when books aren't exposed directly to water, they can still sustain moisture damage from humidity. This is especially true for books that are stored in damp or humid areas such as basements, garages and storage sheds. When a book is exposed to humid conditions for an extended period of time, the pages tend to bend and warp. While professional restoration is best for important or valuable texts and documents, it can be a costly procedure that many find too expensive for commonplace books such as paperback novels and dictionaries. In some cases, it's nearly impossible to restore warped book pages to like-new condition from home without the use of expensive equipment. However, there are a few simple methods that minimize warping and reduce sogginess in humidity-damaged books.

Step 1

Unscrew each clamp so that it opens wide enough to slip your book between.

Step 2

Place a clamp at each of the four corners of the book, one at a time, at least 1 inch in from the edges. Screw the clamp head tightly closed. If the book appears to dent inward below or around the clamp, it is too tight. Adjust the tightness so that the clamp squeezes firmly between the book covers without denting the covers.

Step 3

Place the book on a table in a cool, dry area, preferably with a dehumidifier running nearby to help draw out moisture.

Step 4

Turn the hair dryer on the low setting and gently blow over the book, focusing on the unbound edge opposite the book's spine, for 2 to 5 minutes. Keep the dryer 2 to 4 inches away from the book.

Step 5

Leave the book clamped for 12 hours and then use the hair dryer on the book again.

Step 6

Wait another 12 hours and then remove the clamps. If the pages are still warped, repeat the process again over the course of another 24 hours. For best results, repeat the method immediately after the first attempt.

references

Debra Pachucki

Debra Pachucki has been writing in the journalistic, scholastic and educational sectors since 2003. Pachucki holds a Bachelor's degree in education and currently teaches in New Jersey. She has worked professionally with children of all ages and is pursuing a second Masters degree in education from Monmouth University.