Treasure Island | Starting a Fine Binding

Treasure Island Starting a Fine Binding

June 2016 will see the return of the Worthing Artists Open Houses to our seaside town. As a craftsperson, I have previously enjoyed the increased members of the public coming to say hello at The Book Hut, but never directly taken part. This year, however,  I will be much more involved, with two projects on display and a workshop at the Worthing Library, it’s all go at this end. The first, and key project, is that which is introduced here – Treasure Island – a fine binding of my own creating, that will be on display at StudioFreer in June. It is the first fine binding I have made for approximately four years, and the very first which will be available to buy.

Treasure Island | Starting a Fine Binding

The following initial stages were madeto the binding to prepare the text block for sewing:

  • Initially the cover was removed from the binding and kept for future use in the design process.
  • The textblock was then placed in the press and the spine lining and adhesive (animal glue) was removed manually with a spatular, having been previously softened with a wheat starch paste poultice.
  • The sections were then cleaned individually and put in the press for flattening.
  • The outer folio of each section was then guarded at the spine with a 12gsm tengujo tissue to reinforce them, and placed back in the press.
  • It is now ready to go onto the sewing frame.

In addition to the preparation of the sections, the leather has now been delivered for the later stages of the binding – a nice lime green goatskin.

Treasure Island the leather
Green goatskin ready for later stages of the binding


This book will be on display at StudioFreer 18th/19th June, 25th/26th June, 2nd/3rd July. It will be on sale at this time. If it is something you would be interested in purchasing, please do get in touch.

Making a Tool Roll – Instructions

Like many a crafts person, I have several tool rolls, all of which I have made myself – for tools, paintbrushes, knitting needles – you name it, I have it in a tool roll! So I thought I would impart my knowledge and practice in the art of the tool roll so that one and all can have a go. You don’t need much fabric, but if you don’t have any – I have put together some kits which are available on my Etsy page, which are hopefully wonderfully tempting!

untitled-41 copy

The lovely Helen from work has kindly tested these instructions for me and they have been adjusted as suggested!

You will need…

1 x patterned fabric – dimensions below
3 x plain fabric – dimensions below
1 x ribbon – 75cm long x 5mm wide (can be longer and wider if you’d prefer)
Sewing machine OR needle and thread (the latter will obviously take longer)
Scissors
Pins
Iron
Dressmakers pencil (optional)

Fabric Dimensions:

tools2 a yes

Finished Tool Roll:

tools1

Instructions:

tools3– Firstly we are going to work on the tool side, so put the patterned fabric to one side.
– Iron a 2cm hem onto the long edge of both fabric 3 and 4, then put fabric 4 to one side for the moment.
– Line up fabric 3 with the bottom of fabric 2, ensuring both are front facing and the ironed hem is at the top of fabric 3.
– Pin these two pieces together

toolstips1TIPS – Pin the fabric with the pins perpendicular to the edge of the fabric, this will allow you to run your machine over the pins without misplacing them, it will also prevent the fabric from moving sideways against each other.

tools4 a yes– Sew along the red dashed edge, keeping the sewing as close to the edge as possible – 1cm if possible. Don’t worry about rough edges, these will be covered up when we sew the whole thing together.

– The next step is to divide this new pocket up for the tools. I have made the partitions 2cm each, but you can make them whatever widths work well for your tools. Keep in mind that the divisions at the edges shrink when we sew the whole thing together, so it may be worth starting 3cm in and finishing about 3cm from the other end to allow for sewing round the edge.

tools5 a yes– Pin fabrics 2 and 3 at the hem to stop it flapping about and then mark every point where you want to make a tool division – you could do this with pins, a dressmakers pencil, chalk or you could do it by eye.

– Starting from the base of the fabric, sew up in a straight line, perpendicular to the base of the fabric, to meet your first marker. You will need to remove the pin as you get there as the machine will not sew over it.

 

tools6

– Repeat this for each of your pin markers until you have made all of your tool partitions.

 

 

 

 

 

Your tool roll should now look a bit like this:

tools7 a

tools8

– We are now going to attach fabric 4 and form the lower pocket. This will be on the outside of the tool divisions we have just made.
– Firstly we must sew over the hem we ironed onto fabric 4 at the beginning – this is to stop it flapping about.

tools9

 

 

– Once hemmed, sew fabric 4 into place the same way we did for fabric 3. The new hem should be facing inwards.

tools10a– Sew along the dashed edge, keeping the sewing as close to the edge as possible – 1cm if possible. The same as we did for fabric 3.

tools10b b yes

 

 

 

 

– Next we are going to divide this pocket into two, as one large pocket will probably be less useful.

 

tools11 b yes

– Do this simply by sewing up the middle of of the fabric in line with one of the central tool partitions. If you have a variety of tool division widths – make sure you sew in line with one of them, otherwise you will sew up one of your tool divisions and it will be unusable.

– Nearly there! Next we are going to sew on our backing fabric – fabric 1 – and our ribbon tie all in one go.

 

– Fold your ribbon in half and pin it onto fabric 2 as shown in the picture – the long ends should be on top of your fabric and the little folded bit should be sticking out the edge.

tools12 a yes

tools13 a yes– Once your ribbon is in place, match up fabric 1 with fabric 2 (and 3 & 4) and pin them together – ensuring that the good sides are facing each other.

– Sew along the edges of your fabric bundle, ensuring you leave an open space at the top to turn it inside out, about 12cm. The sewing edge can be up to 2.5cm due to the initial fabric pieces we cut, but try and keep the edges relatively small or your outer tool divisions won’t be much use.
tools14

 

 

 

 

– Turn it inside out and iron it nice and flat – at this point your ribbon should be nicely hanging on the right edge.

toolstips2 a yes
TIPS – Once you are definitely happy with the result, you can cut off the excess edges and corners on the inside of your tool roll, which should make it nice and neat on the outside – this is not essential to the finishing of the roll.

 

– FINALLY – sew up the open edge and fill with tools – TA DA!!

Start with this...
Start with this…...fold it over...…fold it over…...roll it up and tie it together!           …roll it up and tie it together!

Don’t forget you can get ready prepared kits on my Etsy page to make these tool rolls, all made up from lovely fabrics from my stash and my local fabric shop – they are all very nice!

Once your all done – photograph your lovely tool roll and upload you picture to our maudie.made Facebook page and let me see all your hard work! Here’s Helen’s fabulous tool roll!

IMG_0014

TIPS – If you found any of the tips useful, there is a tips jar in the sidebar!

 

Making a Book Support

This has taken me all of half an hour to make, and I really should have done it about a year ago – why is it the simplest things take the longest to get around to doing?!

A book support is an extremely useful part of a book conservators kit, without one there is a permanent struggle to support the book cover and text block using anything to hand (other books, boards, rolls of felt, the cat… ). They can be bought from PEL, but come at £46.50 plus postage – though they are extremely nice! However, the beans I bought were from Wilko’s for £6.50, and the pillow case was an old one, so all in all a cheaper version.

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20130929-001750.jpg

Prior to filling up the pillow case, I sewed up the open edge most of the way along, leaving a small gap to fill the beans with. Once I had filled it, I tested it with a few books and found that I needed to take out some of the beans to get the support just right. Once happy, I then sewed up the open edge and TA DA!

IMG_1436

The scraps are scraps no more

Well I definitely passed a marker today, as I have finished the paper repairs for the toys scrapbook – Mrs E. Nevill Jackson’t Scrapbook from the Museum of Childhood. They have taken a long time as many of them protruded from the edges of the book, meaning they have been crushed over the years.

Some pictures of the book and its inserts before I completed the work.

Mrs E Nevill Jackson’s Scrapbook
The head of the book with crushed inserts
The foredge of the book with crushed inserts

In order to repair these pages, many of them had to be locally humidified first, as they were folded in on themselves, and opening up the folds without the introduction of moisture, would have broken them. I separated the local humidification from the rest of the book using melinex and effectively sectioned off a page at a time. Once humidified, they each had to be dried between blotters before I could repair them. The repairs were then done using japanese tissue (usumino) for the support and a toned thicker tissue for any infills, as can be seen in my last post.

The repaired pages…

The front of the book with paper repairs complete
The head of the book with repaired inserts
The foredge of the book with repaired inserts

So obviously now the inserts are much bigger than the book, as they would have been originally. In order to prevent them being crushed again, I am going to have create some sort of chemise cover to extend the boards and protect the inserts – so watch this space!!!

Scrapbook from the Museum of Childhood

Some time back in a post earlier in the year, I mentioned that I would potentially be working on a scrapbook from the Museum of Childhood. Well I was lucky enough to be allowed that project to work on as part of my MA final project, along with a recipe scrapbook that I am working on at college.

So I thought I would write an update of the work I have been doing on this second scrapbook, whilst at the V&A. This past week, I have been working on substantial paper repairs for the material that is sticking out of the scrapbook. These are items that, due to their oversize, have been bashed and damaged – so I am repairing them.

Marking up for a new infill to fill in the gaps of the paper
Lining up the infill, freshly cut using a needle from toned tissue
The new infill stuck down with wheat starch paste
Trimmed and done!
Local humidification of a particularly bent bit
Freshly flattened after humidification

It’s quite short and picture heavy, this one, but I will try and post some more soon!

Islamic bindings – instructions part 2

Some months back, we started a fantastic workshop with Kristine Rose from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, and last week, we were lucky enough to have Kristine back again to finish the workshop with us, so these are the follow-up instructions. Unfortunately I completely forgot to take any photos during the workshop, so I only have completed ones.

In class, we covered the boards separately, doing the front board with one piece of leather and the back and foredges with the second piece of leather. It is possible to do it as a case binding, with the appropriate measurements for the spine as well. I hadn’t done this method before, so was trying something new.

Covering the front board

  • Mark out where the board will go on the leather with a biro – on the flesh side.
  • Wet the leather on the hair side
  • Paste out on the flesh side, scrape away the excess and paste again to ensure it really gets into the leather.
  • Place the board onto the pasted leather and turn in the edges leaving the spine open.
  • If decorating the front board, wet the leather again on the hair-side, place the decorative plate in place and nip for about five minutes
  • Finally allow to dry fully under boards.
Islamic Binding Completed
Islamic Binding, the completed book

Covering the back board, foredge envelope and foredge flap

  • Trim a flap piece – this should be the same height as the boards and the width should be of the text block minus about 5mm, so it will come out very thin.
  • Mark the leather as above – the back board, envelope and flap should be aligned in a straight line and the gap between back board and envelope should be about 6mm either side of the flap
  • Paste out leather as above
  • Place boards onto leather and turn in the edges, leaving the spine edge free, ensuring the three pieces of board are kept in line.
  • Finally allow to fully dry under boards.

Foredge flap

  • Once dry, paste a strip of leather on the inside of the back board, where the turn-in meets the foredge piece and back board.
  • Once this is dry, it is worth checking whether the cover fits the textblock – if it does not, place spacers either side of the flap and press it for a while, therefore stretching the gaps.
Islamic Binding foredge flap
The foredge flap on the Islamic Binding

DeBleurs

  • Leaving a few millimeters for squares around the boards, measure the deBleurs for the front and back board as well as the turn-in piece.
  • Cutting out the deBleurs – add about and inch to the spine edge of the front and back board pieces, this is to stick down onto the text block to hide the spine joint.
  • Past the three pieces onto the boards and allow to dry.
  • Once dry, fold back the extra bits on the front and back board to keep them out of the way whilst attaching the boards to the spine.
Islamic Binding De Bleurs
The DeBleurs on the inside flap

Attaching the boards to the spine
These books would not have been opened more than about 90 degrees, and would have been read using a rull, so at no point would the have been laid flat.

  • Pair the edges of each of the spine pieces so they are very thin, there should not be any swell on either of them when laid on top of each other.
  • Lay the board against the book and trim the spine leather of each board so that each covers the spine of the textblock
  • Paste the spine of the textblock.
  • Line the front board up against the textblock and push the leather spine piece onto the spine, ensuring the leather is also pushed into the joints. Then do the same with the back board.
  • Allow them both to dry.

The spine edges were always decorated to hide the joining of the leather, this was done with both tooling and gold paint.

Working in the pastedowns

  • Paste out the extra paper from the deBleurs, and work each into the spine joint and onto the textblock.
  • Ensure the book is held at a 90 degree angle when pasting onto the textblock and thoroughly work the paper into the joint.
Islamic Binding Working the Pastedowns
Working the past downs

End caps
These books did not have worked end caps like the european bindings, the excess leather was just trimmed at the end of each of the spines.

Painting the cover
Islamic books were often painted with gold, where any patterns had been impressed onto the cover. For instructions on how to make gold paint, please see my previous post.

  • Prior to painting in gold, the cover must first be painted with gum arabic and then allowed to dry and burnished.
Islamic Binding Showing the Endpapers
Showing the Endpapers
Islamic Binding The Final Book
The Final Book

 

The next time I make one, I will take more constructive pictures!