Collecting, cleaning, displaying, researching, and appreciating TRIVETS and related go-withs!

New life for my favorite reference books

Over the years I’ve built an extensive reference library for the items I collect. I access these books frequently and, as a result, the bindings on my favorites are showing wear. So last month I began removing the pages from several books, inserting them into page protectors, then saving them in loose-leaf binders.

Below is my signed copy #87 of Hazel Mitchell’s British Iron Stands as it originally looked. This spiral bound book was assembled for the 8th International Congress of Iron Collectors, held in Bath, England in 1991. Only 100 numbered copies were published, so finding a copy can be challenging. The protective plastic sheet on front and back was long gone and the back cover was starting to tear away from the binding. It was crucial I find a way to protect the pages!

Hazel’s book and a Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee trivet.

● Brass trivet, 8 5/8″ x 5 1/8” with two 1” legs and two cleated supports. On face: 60th YEAR OF H.M. (Her Majesty’s) REIGN. On reverse: REG’D (for Registered Design). Circa 1897. If you click and enlarge the image you can better appreciate the fantastic detail in the casting, down to the texture in her headscarf. 

The 181 pages of British Iron Stands now reside in a 2″ D-ring binder. Having the chapters organized with tab dividers makes it much easier to find what I’m searching for. And page protectors can be easily flagged with Post-It notes or colored flags without damaging the original text. There’s a convenient pocket on the left that holds 2 small British catalogs.

I also removed the binding from working copies of two other books: Kelly & Ellwood’s A Collectors Guide to Trivets & Stands (1990) and my second book The Expanded A-Z Guide To Collecting Trivets (2010). That process was more difficult, since both were hardbound. First I removed the binding; then I separated the pages from the glued spine. Finally, I used a rotary trimmer to create a straight edge before slipping each page into a page protector.

Here is some good advice I found online: How To Unbind A Hardcover Book.

In my reference library I have gently used copies of these and other vintage books on trivets, irons and other laundry day items. Those books are valued and protected as the collectibles they are. However, the three books I mentioned in this blog post are the ones I turn to most often. Having them in notebook form – easily visible, accessible and searchable – makes researching much easier. I can also copy a page anytime without bending a book spine or creasing/tearing a page.

My next project? I’m going to detach the comb binding on my extra set of Dick Hankenson books Trivets Book 1 and Trivets Book 2 (1972) and organize them in binders. Since these books are smaller (8.75″ x 5.75″) they will each require a 1″ mini D-ring binder and smaller page protectors. These supplies are available at my local office supply store, but they can also be ordered online from various vendors.

PS: Pressing Iron and Trivet Collectors of America (PITCA), the national organization for iron and trivet collectors, has one copy of British Iron Stands in their Lending Library ~ one of many reasons to Join PITCA! There are over 550 items in the PITCA Library; this archive includes books, articles, CDs, DVDs, magazines, newsletters, pamphlets, catalogs, advertising, instruction manuals, patents, letters, and photos. PITCA members can check out items, which can be kept for 2 weeks; the only cost to a member is postage both ways.

Update 2/25/21

I’ve found having reference books in binders is super convenient, so I decided to complete the project. This week I detached the comb binding from my two Judy Politzer books (Tuesday’s Children & Early Tuesday Morning).

I also removed the spine from A Collector’s Guide To Pressing Irons & Trivets by Esther Berney. Of all the books I’ve unbound, Berney’s was the most difficult. It was tightly glued into the spine and had to be cut out using an exact knife and a pair of kitchen shears. But, finally, success! Now my most frequently used references are more readily available.

Whenever possible I trim the book cover or jacket and slip it inside the clear front notebook cover. That serves as a nice reminder of the original book.

I also keep all my paper catalogs and price lists in a large, 3″ D-ring binder. Unfortunately some of my catalogs had begun to separate at the seams; those I separated into individual pages and placed in page protectors. For sturdier catalogs, I use 3 hole plastic edge magazine holders to organize them in the binder. Just open the magazine to the center, slip the magazine through the holder’s slot, then insert in any three-ring binder.

I’ve tried many different binders over the years. I’ve found the Better Binder by Staples to be the most durable. It comes in various sizes and colors. I prefer notebooks with D rings, which hold more and are stronger.

I keep Dave Irons’ two softbound reference books near my computer and use them often. Since they measure 8 1/2″ wide x 11″ long they don’t fit in a standard, portrait-orientation 3 ring binder. Eventually I’ll purchase landscape binders and sheet protectors to hold the pages from Irons By Irons and More Irons By Irons. That will be my last project.

PS: I’ve ordered a signed copy of his Collector Edition Three Volume. It will hold a place of honor in my collectible reference library!

Update 9/23/20

Since this post was written I also have copies of Trivets & Stands and both of my A-Z trivet books in loose leaf albums. I find it much easier to scroll through the pages this way.


This entry was posted on October 1, 2018 by in Collecting Basics, References for Collectors and tagged , , , .

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