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.
Cleaning up the spine with a WSP poultice
Flattening the sections once removed from the book
The sections once they had been separated and cleaned
Sections guarded and ready for sewing
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.
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.
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!
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)
Dressmakers pencil (optional)
Finished Tool Roll:
– 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
TIPS – 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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:
– 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.
– Once hemmed, sew fabric 4 into place the same way we did for fabric 3. The new hem should be facing inwards.
– 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.
– Next we are going to divide this pocket into two, as one large pocket will probably be less useful.
– 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.
– 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.
– Turn it inside out and iron it nice and flat – at this point your ribbon should be nicely hanging on the right edge.
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!!
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!
TIPS – If you found any of the tips useful, there is a tips jar in the sidebar!
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.
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!
This is in preparation for the second set of instructions for Islamic bindings, which is coming in a couple of days. The gold paint is to decorate the cover, but needs some time to prepare so should be prepared prior to the completion of the book.
Gold paint is made using a curved edge dish or a plate without a rim, as the gold is worked right out to the edges.
First drip two drops of gum arabic into the centre of the plate and add one gold leaf, then mix it together with a finger, in circular motions around the centre of the dish.
When it gets impossible to keep rubbing with fingers, add another drop of gum arabic and mix again until the leaf is completely broken down.
When it is hardest to mix gold, this is when it is being ground.
Keep adding gold leaf and gum arabic in this way until up to 5/6 leaves have been added, it will gradually work its way out to the edges of the dish
Every so often the mix should be tested with a drop of water – if when dropped, the gold is lifted up to the top of the water, it is going well.
To finish off, add water and draw all the gold into the water, this may be around a cupful to cover the dish, less if it is a plate.
Transfer this into another smaller vessel that the gold can be permanently kept in.
Leave this vessel on a window sill and allow the water to evaporate.
When it comes to painting with the gold, the surface of the book should first be brushed with a layer of gum arabic, and then burnished. A couple of drops of water will loosen up a little of the dried gold, which can then be painted directly onto the prepared surface.
When a board corner is heavily damaged and needs not only consolidation, but rebuilding as well, it is possible to do this with either pulped manilla or paper and effectively remake the board around the corner.
Using a matching repair paper
This method should be used in cases where the board is made from layered papers, pasted together – paste board.
– Find an appropriate matching repair paper to the board, thicker is possibly better.
– Split the board in the middle and insert a large piece of this thicker paper so that it protrudes from the edges, sticking it in place with wheat starch paste.
– Once stuck in place, build up the corner, layer by layer with the matching repair paper. Each piece should exactly match the edge of the board on that particular layer.
– To get an exact match, the edge of the board can be drawn on melinex and then transferred onto the repair paper.
– Eventually the top layer will be reached and the final piece of repair paper should go over the top of the board to secure the corner in place.
– This should then be left to dry between bondina, blotter, board and bulldog clips.
– Once dried, the new corner can be trimmed to match the edge of the board, and sanded to smoothen out.
Using a pulped manilla
This method can be used on a wider range of boards as the pulp will mould into the gaps of the board corners.
– Tear up a thin manilla into small pieces and whizz in a food processor to produce smaller pieces.
– Allow the pieces to soak in hot water for a while, until the bonds between the fibres in the manilla have begun to break down.
– Drain out the water and squeeze until all water is gone. This can now be left to dry and used another day, if not immediately.
– Break off a piece of manilla pulp and rehumidify in hot water for a few minutes.
– Drain off most of the water and chop manilla with a cobblers knife, as it were a herb.
– Squeeze out more of the water and mix the manilla with wheat start paste put aside ready for use.
– Split the board in the middle and insert a large piece of manilla into the split so that it protrudes from the edges, sticking it in place with wheat starch paste.
– Once stuck in place, build up the corner with the pulp and paste. This will have to be done in stages and allowed to dry in-between as the pulp will shrink on drying.
– Ensure the end result is bigger than the board and allow to fully dry.
– One dry, trim the excess and sand the new corner.
– Support the corner with a japanese paper that protrudes over the original board.
These instructions are to coincide with the Islamic binding lessons that we have been having with Kristine Rose from the Fitzwilliam Museum.
Sewing and spine preparation
The two sewing stations must be prepared in advance of sewing as the paper is not good enough quality to work blind on the book, this can be done by piercing the paper or by scoring the stations with a knife. Commonly sewing was in yellow silk.
Sew the first two sections twice as it is not initially sewn off, then continue to sew using link stitches. For sewing off, make the final stitch a kettle stitch, so that it is secured.
Knock sections up between boards and put into a laying press.
Stipple a small amount of paste into the sections to stick initially, then repaste with stippling and put spine lining on and bone folder down. The spine lining should be an evenweave linen, commonly mauve was used.
Excess linen is to be trimmed and pasted to the book block. This will be hidden by the board attachments. The linen should only be a couple of millimetres either side of the spine.
End band cores should be the same material as covering, cut 3mm and just wider than the text block, these are to be glued up on the flesh side of the leather and moulded so that no fibres stick out. The cores should then be stuck onto the spine, adjacent to the spine and just hanging over either side.
Each section centre should then be marked.
Sewing of the endbands is done using three threads:
Primary thread – this should be a bright colour, often a gold, so that it can be seen in contrast to the other two. This is sewn through every section and over the cores, which creates the basis for the second two threads.
Secondary thread – this is woven over and under the primary thread at the middle of the core and left at the other end
Tertiary thread – this follows the secondary thread on each row, going ‘under the overs’ and ‘over the unders’ meaning that every time a secondary thread goes over the primary, the tertiary will go under both, and when a secondary thread goes under a primary, the tertiary goes over both.
The tertiary then anchors the secondary at the other end, allowing the secondary to weave back through the primaries to the starting point. Once the tertiary has come back and two rows are complete, there should be a chevron pattern starting. These two rows are then shuffled along the primaries to sit on the text block, before the next row is started.
To finish text block:
Tie down end band knots within the text block.
Trim decorative end papers just smaller than first sheet and wet before pasting. Paste just over the fabric on the spine and press. Once pressed, trim any excess decorative papers.
Pair endband cores very slightly and paste down onto book cover.
Paste and fan out text block threads onto spine.
Three boards are used per cover, which should be lightly wetted prior to pasting.
Boards are exactly the same size of text block in height, though not in width – Square up one corner of board and measure against cover of book, leaving a joint space at the spine, about the same size as the endbands, trim the boards to this size once pasted.
Leave boards sharp without back cornering them.
The foredge flap will only be the thickness of one board not three, and will be done when covering the book.
The foredge envelope will be as the covers and three board thicknesses. It should be the same height for the boards and measured to exactly half the width of the boards. The point is central and the depth of the angle is half the width of the envelope.