Backing up a bit

The books stuff I’m working on now is not the only thing I’ve accomplished, book-wise, over the past month or so. I forgot to take photos, but here’s Master Lorenzo’s elevation gift (no, it’s not magic – he took some and then sent them to me):

ML's book, leafing detail by you.

I’m so happy to finally be able to gift a book to somebody! This one was built on a modified Carolingian bookblock. I attempted to do endbands, then realized I had no idea what I was doing (and started them the night before the event) so I covered them with the cover leather. The cover is attached like a modern case-bound cover, except that I glued the binding cords onto the boards (Davey board) as a hinge. The book is ~15 quires thick, with four folios per quire. I think that adds up to around 120 pages. I’m not sure (I didn’t count them beforehand.

Even if I did glue the spine funny, it looks okay:

ML's book spine detail by you.

It also opens pretty nicely:

ML's book, open by you.

The stitching lies nice and flat and although it’s a bit loose, it lets you open the book far enough without breaking the spine.

I also splurged and bought some really nice marbled papers to use as endpapers:

ML's book, endpapers by you.

The thing I like about endpapers is that although they’re expensive, the books I generally bind are small enough that you get a lot of use out of one sheet. This one came from Sam Flax. The CG has promised to help me learn to make my own in the future.

The final touch was the gilding on the cover:

Master Lorenzo's elevation book by you.

This was very difficult for me. I had read that it was possible to use a cold method to gold-leaf leather, although now I understand that cold really means “less hot.” I also didn’t use glair or another appropriate gilding adhesive, primarily because I didn’t have anything else but PVA but also (in the case of the glair) for the same reason I didn’t use wheat paste – I don’t relish the idea of roaches eating my work later on (they apparently like glair and wheat paste). So I put down PVA and then stuck the gilding to it and then repeated the process until the design was more or less what I wanted.

I must add, for the record, that I’ve never gilded anything before this. While it’s not the job I wanted to do, I think it’s a good job, all things considered.

For the Persian books, I intend on doing hot-stamped gilding, which is apparently necessary. According to Szirmai, it is important to match stamp temperature to your leather. The leather (which is damp from the adhesive under it) shrinks upon application of the heated tool, allowing it to retain the stamp. Different curing processes take different temperatures. For example, chrome-tanned leather is unusable because it requires temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius for collagen shrinkage, temperatures that also scorch the leather. Most others take temperatures between 30 and 60  degrees Celsius. I think I can handle that (I’m so scared to use heated tools because I’m super-clumsy and I am certain to horribly burn/scar myself).

In summary, here’s the materials rundown:

Pages: Canson 28″x32″ 60lb sketch paper, torn four times and then folded.

Board: 4-ply Davey (chip) board

Sewing thread: Irish linen, 2-ply, waxed (using paraffin; I should be using beeswax, but I can’t find it in my craft room at the moment)

Cords: hemp, 4-ply (the stuff you make those hippy bracelets out of)

Endpapers: Italian marbled paper, done in the traditional manner, purchased at Sam Flax. I forget the brand.

Leather: 3mm deerhide, brown, not chrome-tanned, purchased at Tandy Leather. This is much too thick. I have discovered that less than 1.5mm works best.

Gilding: Imitation gold (I don’t know much more about it – it was a cast-off from another designer during grad school)

Adhesive: Archival PVA

Made for: Master Lorenzo Petrucci, OL (for his elevation to the Order of the Laurel, September 2009)

About HappyGoth

By day, I'm a graphic designer. By night, I'm a knitter. I'm doing my part to keep Hotlanta stylish. I imagine that if you don't already understand the title of the blog, you're probably confused and perhaps slightly annoyed, but never fear - I do have a reason (and it's a good one). Having gone to hear Stephanie Pearl McPhee, and then having been inspired to blog about knitting, I found myself wondering what to call the blog. I recalled a conversation I had with Mouse and the Chicken Goddess about why it is a Bad Idea to anger knitters - this conversation was following SPM, aka the Yarn Harlot telling the assembled throng about Those Who Do Not Understand Knitting and Therefore Belittle It Much to the Chagrin of Others, or TWDNUKTBMCO, which is not the acronym she used but is the one I'm using because I forgot hers - that is, we are numerous and we all have very pointy sticks, easily transforming into an angry mob. Therefore, knitters = angry mob.
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1 Response to Backing up a bit

  1. Katy says:

    It turned out fantastic!

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