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Archive for June, 2007

Upcoming projects

Well, I’ve got my next project lined up.  I’m going to create cases for my husband’s and my manga collection.  Right now, we have them on the top of our tallest bookcase, and the dust hasn’t been kind.  I just got the boards.  Now, I’ve got to go hit the hardware store.  I need a C-clamp and a T-Square.  I’ll be cutting the boards by hand, so I’ll really need a straight edge.  One day I hope that I’ll be able to get a board cutter, but until then, I hope I’ll be able to cut straight lines. 🙂

The collections I’ll be boxing are Psychic Girl Mai, Gunsmith Cats, Cowboy Beebop, Lupin III, and Nausicaa.  After I manage to do these, I’ll be creating cases for our DVD collections.  Sure I could buy ready-made cases for the DVDs, but I want to be able to stack them in the bookcase.  We’ll see how it goes.

My other happy discovery this week was in finding bookcloth hiding at the top of my son’s closet.  I was cleaning the closet out, and there it was.  Yeah!!!!!!  There isn’t a lot, but there’s enough for me to complete several books as long as I only want to use the cloth for hinges.  Yeah!!!!!!

Now to find the time to actually do these projects and to find the space.  We’ve been renovating one of our rooms.  Once it’s done, I’ll have a place to work – I think.  🙂  Keep your fingers crossed.

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Well, I got my chance to make my first phase box for someone. Yeah! My mom has a 1877 first-edition Rime of the Ancient Mariner illustrated by Gustave Doré. It was given to her by a neighbor when she was child. Her neighbor got it as a gift when she was a slave. It’s very special to my mom, and this is the first time I ever saw it. She had it wrapped in saran wrap to try and protect it from the moisture in Florida where she kept it. It’s in fairly good shape. There is some foxing, a corner has come off of one page, and there is one torn page of tissue paper over one of the illustrations. The biggest problem is that the covers have come off. I took a look and suggested that I make a phase box for it. I’m also going to look into what it would take to have it conserved. I don’t feel that I have the skills yet to properly take care of this book. The best I can do is box it.

Well, my dad took rough measurements for me, and I figured that I would need a 30″x40″ piece of corrugated archival board. I had such trouble finding this. First, I tried Talas. They had the board, and they had some that there were phasing out so that I could purchase a single sheet. They seem to sell this just in packs of 10 or more. I learned to my dismay that this is because of the shipping. They wanted to charge me $45 for truck shipping. I declined and kept looking. I finally stumbled upon Light Impressions at Shop.com. They sold single sheets. Yeah! Shipping was not unreasonable. I ordered and held my breath. I was so happy when it arrived. It was sent FedEx and packed really well. No damage and usable. What I was worried about was that the grain ran long. This was going to make folding hard.

Luckily my dad had a carpenter’s square that I could use. This made laying out the lines much easier. Cutting had to be done by hand of course and was difficult because the cuts were so long. I found myself running from one side of the dining room table to the other. The folding was difficult. Normally, I would try to have the grain run with the height of the book, but this book was so large that it just wasn’t possible. I would have needed the next size board for that.

Well, I managed to create the box and the book is now housed in it. I’m really quite proud that I did it. But, I’m also a little upset because I had some problems and did damage the board. I broke it along the corrugation on one of the shorter folds. I didn’t break all the way through, but still, the break means the box is less strong. Plus, I shouldn’t have put a thumb notch in the cover. The cover is too long and the depth of the book – slightly over an inch – really didn’t work well.

I’m thinking that I’ll most probably order another board and give it another go. My mom is happy with it, but I think I could do better.

Closed from the frontClosed from the sideFrom the sideOpen from frontCloseup of book cover

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Non-adhesive binding

I’ve learned a lot about binding and creating hinges, but none of my classes did any non-adhesive binding. All of my instructors highly recommended the books by Kevin A. Smith as good examples of binding styles, and I’ll be purchasing some of them soon. I did, however, come across a kit book at Quietfire Designs that featured a sewn binding. Intrigued, I bought one of the kits and created the book over several nights.

It used simple 8 1/2 x 11 paper, so this is something that could easily be done again at home without purchasing any special papers, except for the cover that is. The kit included most of the pieces, I needed to purchase an eyelet setter and a punch. I had a punch that was unfortunately too big. I’m not entirely happy with the punch I bought either. It worked, but I think it’s better for paper than for bookboard. If I were to do another of these books, I would purchase a different punch.

Marking holes with awlAnyway, the instructions said to mark the settings to be punched with a marker. I thought that would mar the bookcloth, so instead I used my awl. I went with one of the handmade papers for this project. I had never worked with handmade paper before, and I found it difficult to paste out. The leaves and petals wanted to work free. Perhaps I should have used watered down PVA instead of paste on this. Or used a less thick paste.

Punching the holesI did the punching and eyelet setting out in my garage on the floor after my son went to bed. It was a very glamorous and comfortable place to work. 😉  I had a lot of problems setting the eyelets.  I would say that I need tons more experience in eyelet setting before I gain any confidence in my abilities with it.  But, I think they’ll hold.

Making these things at home without a specific place to work has been challenging. I don’t know if you can tell from the picture of not, but I actually laid out the pieces to begin sewing them together on my son’s Aquadoodle mat.

Eyelets and spineI found the sewing to be difficult. Basically, it’s a weaving stitch that goes over and under the spine. It was hard to figure out how much slack to leave. The book block is added after the first few passes and is held in place by the sewing through the running stitch on the book block.

Attaching the book blockAfter I completed the sewing, I went back to tighten the entire thing. I’m not sure how well the book block will remain in place. It’s only attached to the covers in two places. The tyvek tape is kept in place to help with the sewing and is removed when the sewing is finished.

Finished sewing

The completed project is very pretty, but I’m not sure I’ll do another of these.  I might try it again.  I think one of the problems I had was that the thread used for binding was waxed, and I know wax can ease the sewing, but I really hate the feel of it.  Before doing another, I’ll wait awhile to see how well the book block stays in place as well as the spine.  I do like the pattern that is made on the spine and covers.  That is what really grabbed my attention in the first place and got me to buy the kit.

Finished sewn book

Now, what should I do with all of these books I’ve created?  I keep creating blank books and never filling them.  I’ve never been much of a journal writer; I’m finding this blog difficult to write – but I’m enjoying it.  So, what do I do with all of these books?  Just put them on my shelf and enjoy them?  I find them hard to give away too.  Looking back at ones I’ve made helps me figure out what I’m doing.  Of course, all the photos I have now and the notes I’ve written in this blog should help with that.  I guess I need to make a ton more and then I’ll be more comfortable giving them away.

Now to purchase some books and learn more about non-adhesive binding.

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Flat-back Case

Well, my last class has come and gone. I’ve learned of two more that I wish I could take. Unfortunately, they are both week-long courses that start in a week. Pretty much not doable. Ah well.

The last class was creating a flat-back case — those most like what we all purchase in the bookstore. The steps are pretty much the same as for any other book.

1. Determine the number of signatures, fold them, and sew. It is sewn on tapes, like the hollow tube book was. (I had the same instructor for this class – Susan Mills.  I think she’s great!)

2. Glue up the spine. But in this case, we attached mull to the spine to strengthen the end sheets. The end sheets are what really hold the book/text block to the case. Since they are paper, the mull gives them extra strength and holding power. The mull is glued to the spine after the headbands are attached. It runs the length of the spine up to the headbands. Another layer of japanese tissue paper is then applied on top. So, gluing up the spine goes: tissue paper, headbands, mull, tissue paper.

3. Attaching the end paperAttach the end paper to the book block. The end paper is actually only tipped to the front and back of the book block. A line of PVA is applied about 1/4 inch in from the crease and the paper is applied.

4. Attach the book block to the case. The case is made exactly the same as the case I created to house one of my boxes.

Two boards are cut for the front and back covers, and another board is cut for the spine. The boards are then glued to the book cloth using a jig to make sure that there will be enough space for the covers to fold at the spine. In this case, the jig was equal to a two-board thickness plus the width of a dowel.

Anyway, for these books (I made two), I applied PVA to the end sheet, then glued down the tapes (after cutting them down to the length of the mull), applied more PVA to the tapes and glued down the mull. PVA is then attached to the mull. Attaching it to the back cover is easy. Simply lay it in place. Attaching the front cover is a little trickier.

attaching the coverI followed the same gluing procedure, but the front cover has to be basically dropped into place. This is tricky, because you can lift the cover slightly to see if you got the placement right, but that can create creases in the hinge that are unattractive and that you cannot fix. So, you basically just pray. 🙂

Using the dowelsOnce the covers are attached, dowels are placed in the hinge area to create the fold and attach the bookcloth to the end paper, and the whole shebang is pressed for about 30 seconds.

5. The dowels are removed after 30 seconds and the book is pressed overnight. (I had blotter paper and wax paper in the book block after the end sheets to protect the block) After that, it’s safe to open it and see what you’ve got. It is possible to fix the end sheets slightly after it is all dried, by cleaning up the lines. Finished inside coverIf the paper dried crooked, it is actually very easy to cut away the excess and peel it off. It makes the final product look a little nicer.

So, I finished two books in class and created the book block for a third that I’ll finish here at home.

Finished flat-backs

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