Bookbinding Update | Week 33

So I’m going to try and make these shorter and more snappy and keep everyone more excited! Last night was a manic array of different projects all fighting to be completed. Some people were ploughing, others like myself, were working on their coptic bindings and some on their rounded backs!
I managed to complete my coptic binding and cover it and start the phase box for it, but due to the manicness, I have no pictures. We will be continuing the phase box next week, so I’ll take some photos then. Its not a slip case, more of a very fancy protective envelope, which at the moment isn’t going too badly. Sadly the actual binding itself is still pretty rubbish, but I will have to practice the technique more.
I do have the attached picture to interest you, which is a little snippet my lovely sister sent me, which she found whilst researching for her studies. It’s from the London Journal Ladies Supplement and she thinks dates back to around the 1880’s – I rather like it!

Bookbinding Update | Week 32

Afternoon All! Yesterday I nearly completed my coptic binding, which I have to say, is an atrocious contribution to such a nice form of binding. I managed to rip several sheets whilst trying to tighten the threads, which needless to say, failed anyway! I also found that I have been linking the sections using a kettle stitch instead of a chain stitch, which looks extremely messy – the chain stitch being much more attractive and simple, in addition, my kettle stitches were messy anyway – as I say – a poor contribution

This is the final article without a cover


My mid lesson apple was interestingly decorated!

Bookbinding Update | Week 31

Tuesday seemed to mark the completion of all sorts of things – my unit one stuff, which was lots of art work and paper manipulation, the handing in of all my work to date to be assessed (phew!) and a presentation that I was doing with two other people in the class. So as you can imagine, it was a huge relief to have it all completed! I have now handed in all my work so far, and don’t have too much left to do, except finish my project 2 (Journey to the Centre of the Earth) and make a box for it.
As well as all of the above, we also started work on our Coptic Bindings, which we are filling with the manipulated paper we have made for  unit 1 – you can see some of these in the images attached and the start of the binding – an extraordinarily complex way of sewing, that involves a needle for every hole! – 4 in this case!!!

Unfortunately, the sections in this binding are only made of two sheets, so it is quite easy to rip the sheets when you tighten the sewing, as you will see in the picture above – again, practice makes perfect!

Bookbinding Update | Week 30

Having contemplated the lack of roundness in my rounded spine book over the last week, I feel I have now come to terms with it and am moving on to the next stage without holding too much resentment for it!
Yesterday I managed to plough the head of my book (the top part of the text block), so it is beautifully smooth and nice looking. Having ploughed away, I then sanded the same edge whilst the book was clamped in the press in order to get a silky smooth feel. Once sanded I was able to paint it! Yes, I have now got a coloured edge to the book, which is EXTREMELY exciting! I painted it with acrylic to match the colour of the end papers (the typed coloured pages I sent pictures off a while back). Once the acrylic dried I then polished it with a special ‘Renaissance Polish’ and brushed it down with a shoe brush.
This is what it looked like in the press just after painting. Now it looks amazingly shiny and has a very nice silky smooth feel to it, which I am thoroughly chuffed with!

Bookbinding Update | Week 28

At points over the last few weeks, my skills have dealt me some shoddy hands, leaving me somewhat depressed with my accomplishments. In most cases I am generally worrying a bit too much as I would ideally like these things to be perfect.
HOWEVER… this was not the case last night. Last night part of my delightful book (Journey to the Centre of the Earth) was ruined. Ruined by me some stages back in the process of making it. Our tutor has told us many times that you must get the sewing right in order to make the book well. This is what I found I had failed on.
Although my sewing was neat – you may remember the pictures – it was too tight. This meant that when I came to ’round’ it yesterday, there was not enough give or ‘swell’ to allow the book to bend. The rounding is done with a hammer, which is glanced across the spine whilst it is in the press. This pushes the spine either side of the center, giving the books its rounded spine. The foredge then also has a curve, which you will see in many old hardback books. Due to my tight sewing and no swell, my rounded book now remains somewhat flat backed, and is a huge dissapointment to me.
On top of this, I also glanced the spine too close to the tail, meaning that I mucked up one of the sections in the middle of the book. You can see in the picture the middle section has buckled. Our tutor saw this as more of a problem than my rounding, but I have to say I am sadder about the latter, as I feel I can improve on the buckling.
Well practice makes perfect I suppose.
This is a coptic binding sheet I made last night whilst waiting for the press. It will go alonside the spider looking one that I did a long time back.

Bookbinding Update | Week 26

Well last night was a success, if not a little nerve wracking! I learned how to plough a book for the first time, my first time attempt being on my project 2 book (Journey to the Centre of the Earth). I don’t think it went too badly, though there are a couple of wrinkles on a small part of it – though I’m hoping these won’t be so visible to the normal eye!
To plough the book properly, you have to make sure the spine of the book is completely straight, as there is no moving it when it is gripped by the press (the bit that looks a bit like a Black ‘n’ Decker). If it’s put in wonky, when you take it out of the press, having ploughed away, it would then resume its original shape and distort the ploughed edge – most disappointing. I’m pleased to say that I did manage to get mine fairly straight, and have now got a beautifully ploughed foredge!
The funny looking wooden contraption sitting on top of the press is, in fact, the plough. Once aligned all correctly, you run this (very carefully) up and down the text block, and it will shave off the paper, a few pages at a time – genius! Any dodgy running, and the pages may snag, leaving you with a ruined text block.

We will also  be ploughing the head of the book at a later stage, which will be done after rounding and backing. The method will be a little different, so I will tell all when I know – bet you can’t wait!!