My Favourite Tool: Claudia Benvestito’s stitch ripper

I don’t like to take books apart. I love sewing, endbands and threads, and so whenever I feel it’s possible I attempt to fix the sewing of a book. When it appears to be loose, and it’s necessary to disbind, I take the unconventional approach of aiming to do so without cutting the thread. However, when I have to accept that the thread must be cut, I can’t help but ask myself, ‘Why? It’s not the thread’s fault.’

When I discovered this cute stitch ripper, I quickly fell in love with it. Its sharp blade is absolutely safe, set on the inside of a curve and protected by a sphere.

Looking like a little clown’s red nose, my stitch ripper makes the cut far less painful.

Claudia Benvestito has been a book conservator at the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice since 1999. She graduated from the European Course for the Preservation and Conservation of Library Materials in Spoleto (PG) Italy, then trained as an intern at the Conservation Department of the Library of Congress in Washington. She is very interested in bookbinding history, and at the moment is involved in research on the persistent use of wood in Italian bookbinding until 1800. She loves mechanical connections and is driven by the need to construct and design conservation boxes.

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