The Book Hut Shop

Introducing The Book Hut Shop – handmade books, tools and supplies for conservation and bookbinding.

Alongside services in book and paper conservation and bookbinding, The Book Hut has long been a supplier of handmade tools and bookbinding equipment, and handbound books. Previously we have used a separate selling platform, but we are pleased to announce that thebookhut.co.uk now has its own online store. Please do have a look, and keep in touch for new items regularly added.

We have some beautiful handmade books and tools that you will not find anywhere else and some practical supplies and materials created with use, efficiency and aesthetic in mind.

The new corner cutter in action

The Deterioration of a Book

Deterioration of a Book

Sea Fishing on the English Coast
by Frederick G. Aflalo
Hardback with laminate cover, no dust jacket, perfect bound without sewn sections.

The Deterioration of a Book

As a book conservator, I repair books on a daily basis, all in varying states of destruction and disrepair. As a resident of Worthing and the South Coast, I am witness to the destruction and disrepair caused by the sea and coastal weather to buildings and all kinds of objects.

However I have yet to see any evidence of a book being destroyed by the sea and weather. This is what I hope to observe over the course of the year ahead, and record here as part of an ongoing installation with ‘Art on the Pier‘.

The book itself is installed at Coast Cafe, near The Book Hut, and new and updated images will be put onto my website on a monthly basis.

A record of the deterioration

 

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.

David Barber’s Sketchbook

David Barber's Sketchbook

David Barber’s Sketchbook
c.2014
Flexible binding in full tan goatskin. Sewn landscape onto five cords and trimmed, with endbands in beige and green silk.
Paper was alternated between Surrey Cartridge and Windsor & Newton Sketching & Drawing Paper.
276×207 (WH), 15 sections, 3 bifolios per sections

David Barber’s Sketchbook was designed with specific requirements from the artist. The layout was landscape to allow the artist to draw across the double page spread, it was also imperative that the binding opened well when completed giving access to the gutter of the book. The texblock was created from two different types of paper alternating between each section, one more appropriate for watercolour, the other for drawing in ink.

The text block was sewn onto five cords, which were then laced into the boards. The boards are lined to allow for the pull of the leather on the front and the leather left plain for the artist to decorate. The endpapers were made from the Surrey Cartridge paper, again, designed for use from the artist.

For more examples of fine bindings and newly bound volumes, have a look at bookbinding. For more information on the Artist, have a look at his interview on Worthing Art.

David Barber's Sketchbook
The first drawing by David Barber

David Barber with his sketchbook
David Barber with his sketchbook

aMAZEme at the Southbank Centre

This week The Man and I had one of our “Luke & Maudie’s Fun Day Out”. I love these days, they are filled with enjoyable meandering, varied and regular pub visits (preferably trying out new ones) and generally having an enjoyable fun day.

The Saturday just gone was one of these days, this time along the Southbank – one of my favourite parts of London, and if you have not been recently, or are due to visit London soon, I cannot suggest it strongly enough to visit. It’s fabulous all year round, come Christmas there will be hundreds of little markets and lights on all the trees. But this time of the year is a time for drinking outside and picking up the sunshine amongst the London cloud – its wonderful!

The Propstore was the first stop – a bar just outside the National Theatre, which is one of these pop-up bars that will be there until the end of September. It’s made from old bits of scenery from the theatre and supplies micro-brewery beers including a very nice pale ale!

We also popped into the The Royal Festival Hall (another favourite), and managed to see a fantastic exhibition called aMAZEme. It’s been created by Marcos Saboya and Gualter Pupo and is based on the concepts of Art & Literature, Entertainment and Generosity. It is a collection of books built up into a maze in the shape of a fingerprint and really is great. It is one of these rare exhibitions where you can get involved, the phrase is “feel free to pick up the books and have a read, but please replace them for others to enjoy” – how great is that?!

I thoroughly enjoyed it, there isn’t much like being surrounded by walls of books, so I strongly suggest anyone in and around London goes and has a look, and possibly a pint on the river – can’t get much better than that!

Some books were in need of conservation!

I remember this book from when I was a kid!

Tuesday’s at St Brides

This week was my second at St Brides, and I was glad to get started on some conservation. Thankfully Nigel has been putting aside books that urgently need some help and has made a pile of about eight books. These aren’t necessarily the oldest or the most valuable books in the collection, and indeed in this case they are relatively modern, most being perfect bound – but they are ones that, in their current state, are not useable by the general public.

It is important to remember the reason that we conserve books, which is different in each case. At the V&A, it is often because a book is going on display – in a library it is almost always because a book cannot be used. In each case a different approach is required. A book going on display is likely to have more time given to it for conservation, and possibly more funds. It will almost always be a special book, or one a value of some kind or another, possibly it’s pictures, or the binding itself. A book in the library may have none of these attributes, it is unlikely to be of any other value except for the written content, it will almost never have funds associated with it for conservation, and generally no time allowed to it for repair. The latter has various consequences for library books – they fall apart, they get badly mended by people who (although despite having good intentions) are likely in most cases not to have experience in conservation, and they get damaged further. There are, of course, exceptions in every case and Libraries that purely exist to house prestigious collection.

However, this is, generally speaking, the sad life of a library book in my opinion. So I am more than happy to be helping at St Brides, and bring some of their less prestitigious books back into the publics hands. As I say, quite a few of them are perfect bound, and being a very modern form of binding, I am not sure yet how to conserve these in a time efficient. I have grout this issue up with my tutor at college and we may look into good methods of repair. I will also research and come back on this issue.

So with my lack of knowledge in repairing perfect bindings fully intact, I went about beginning on a binding I was more familiar with. This particular book is a reference for type faces, and as such, is printed on good quality paper. It has had a relative amount of previous repairs, using a very white paper to adhere loose pages back into the book. I had primarily thought that with one loose sheet that needed repairing, I would remove the previous repair, both on the sheet and on the book and repair it with a Japanese tissue. However, on finding that several other sheets have also come loose and also have previous repairs on them, I may not do this on every page. This is not preferable to me, though as mentioned above, time and resources for these books are not fruitful! And having removed the paper from the initial loose sheet, taking me most of the afternoon, I am not convinced it is worth it for the book.