Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A simple book press.

A couple of weeks ago, with the assistance of my friend Ralph, I built a simple book press using the instructions at TJ's (TJ Book Arts) web site.

Here, I'm using a brick as a weight because I was feeling too lazy to run the wing nuts all the way down. I'm pondering making some pressing boards to reduce the distance the nuts have to be tightened when pressing thinner pieces.

I also made a couple of modifications:

Since Ralph has a full woodworking shop, we drilled out the hole a little larger on the top of the base and used a nut to retain the screws - fewer potential loose bits and pieces roaming around the bindery is always a Good Thing.

I also added little stick-on feet (available at any hardware store) to prevent the bolt heads from scratching up the workbench.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Born on the 4th of July...

In bookbinding, as so much else, sometimes serendipity strikes... Here a book in progress and a book I bought unexpectedly collided. Like many, when I heard that Oak Knoll was having a sale on Keith Smith books, I hurried right over and ordered all three... When they arrived this past week I started reading 200 Books (largely because it was on top). Almost immediately a phrase leaped out at me:

"All living things are in change. The finished book is a corpse. The observer views the remains, but the bookmaker has known the book while it was living and has seen many possibilities not told.".
I've been pretty much living that the last week or so... The idea for this book (a folded accordion structure like the previous one) came to me in the wee hours of the 4th of July, so the colors were a given. But a long series of cover designs had to be discarded because either it didn't seem like it could be done with paper, or I couldn't figure out quite how to produce it, or my current skill levels were lacking my ambition. (Mostly the last in some combination with the others!)

I tried to construct several, but rejected them for one reason or another.

In particular, the design above seemed like a good idea in my head but it ended up giving me the creeps once it took physical form.

However, I kept coming back to the same basic idea - forming at least part of the design by 'negative space', which lead me to the cover actually used:

Here is the cover under construction (click and you can zoom in to see the details):

It should have been 'red, white, and blue' to fit the classical order of the colors, but I couldn't quite make that work. (You can see one form of the classical order in the rejected cover above.) Once I settled on the 'two actual squares framing a virtual square' idea I tried several variations, but the design came out 'lopsided' unless I made the cover white. I did make one mockup with a white cover, but the area of white seemed to swallow the red and blue squares and didn't seem at all attractive.

Overall, I'm not entirely happy. While the physical execution is much better than the last one, there are flaws in the new parts - mostly caused by going to fast. I need to slow way down and concentrate. The design? There is still an unscratched itch in there somewhere - I suspect I'll be back to it in the future.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mini Live Journal for Bookbinders

Over the past few days I've been watching an interesting new site come to life - Artists Books 3.0 is a new forum for "artists, curators, librarians, students, and researchers interested in artist books and the book arts". Being new, it is kind of slow at the moment but shows potential as social networking/mini Live Journal site for the bookbinding and book arts communities.

I've also added Artists Books 3.0 to my list of bookbinding forums.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bookbinders tools.

Though you can substitute common household items for many bookbinding tools, there's nothing like the real thing once you start to get a little more serious. If you are looking to equip a workshop the array of tools and toys available can be almost dizzying! The trick is to start with the basics and work your way up the scale as your budget and inclination allows. Even so, a basic set of tools and supplies can be had for only a couple of hundred dollars.

Here are two shopping lists for reference;

  • Dennis at Cai Lun provides the basic shopping list he used after losing his tools and supplies in an apartment fire. (This is the list I used when setting up the Corner Bindery.)

  • Erin Zamrzla at Erinzam also provides a list of basic tools
    for the beginning bookbinder along with an explanation of the use of each.

Know of any more published lists on the web that complement those above? Drop me a comment and I'll list them.

Monday, July 7, 2008

One small book for a man...

Just a small project, but finally finished after generating a ton of scraps and recycling while practicing.

Folded Accordion Book

This is a folded accordion book from Gabrielle Fox's "Essential Guide to Making Handmade Books". The colors were chosen not for decoration but to keep track of which pieces went where, and to make it easier to see how the pieces interrelated in the finished work.

A small start, but one has to start somewhere!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Workshop finally a workplace...

With a book actually in progress (pictures soon!), the workshop is finally up and running.

My apologies for my prolonged absence, but real life has been crazy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Absent - but not gone.

Wow! How fast four months goes by...

My apologies for the absence, but things have been just a little bit crazy around here, but they are settling down now. Pictures of the completed bindery coming in a day or two, and after the holidays I should be able to devote some time to actual binding.

For those who are interested, I have a personal journal here.