A gentleman dropped off his wife's cookbook last week -- once it's cleaned up it will to be a gift for their daughter-in-law. As with many beloved, well-used books, this one got taped; and it got taped over and over again. There's masking tape over pressure-sensitive tape on the spine and joints, and there's some kind of paper tape with a mucilage adhesive on the inside hinge.
But there's good news: it means I got to bust out the heat spatula. This a very handy tool. It's best to use it with a rheostat as the temperature should be regulated according to the type of tape being lifted. No matter what you're working on, the lowest effective temperature possible should be used to avoid burning surfaces, liquefying adhesive, etc.
The heat spatula is inserted under the tape; it lifts the tape carrier, and if your lucky the adhesive as well. Alot of times, as in this case, it leaves some of the adhesive on the book cover---it's sticky to the touch. This time around the adhesive residue was removed with a crepe square, or rubber cement pick-up (another very handy item). On other occasions it might be necessary to use mild solvents.
About an hour later, and no worse the wear for whatever I inhaled courtesy of the 3M Corporation, I'm now looking at a straight-forward reback. The tape did it's job---I still have the spine piece to work with, and all original boards, paste downs, etc. I thank the tape for a job well done.