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This is a quick instructable that can be used as a base for many other book based projects.
Some of this will require experimentation to apply to the specific book you are working on, but will give you a great starting point.

BEWARE:  This project is not for the feint of heart when it comes to books or history.  I am a great respecter of books and it took a bit of courage for me to begin this project, but once I started, it jumped to many other fun projects.

SUPPLIES
  • Book (hardcover in this case)
    • At this point I can only really guarantee how to do this with a loose spine, but with some patience you should be able to unbind any hardcover book.
  • exacto knife
  • extra blades
  • small knitting needle or metal rod
  • OPTIONAL:  microwave or hair dryer

Step 1: Anatomy of a Book

This is a crucial step. 
I will be referring to the parts of the book as displayed in the two photos, so take note.

End Papers:   These are the decorative pages that are pasted onto the inner part of the cover as well as the opposite side.
Hinge:  Inner part of the book where the cover joins the spine and where the book bends/opens from.
Text Block:  The pages of the book.  These are generally all attached to one main sewn on segment.

Joint:  Like the Hinge, but on the outside of the book.
Head & Tail:  The head and the tail are the pieces of the cover that extend from the text block.

<p>Fantastic! I used to do book binding, but am looking at some old children's encyclopaedias my grandfather picked up from a flea market when he was young. And I'm fifty. Thought I could make some things with the charming illustrations, or sell some of the ephemera in them, to cover my vet bills...so taking them apart carefully would be important. They are in bad shape, but I love them and want to do right by them. Thank you.</p>
Worked like a charm. Thanks.

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