Monday, April 30, 2012

Intermediate Bookbinding: Week 8

Scharf-Fix, the ultimate leather paring machine (unless you like another brand)

This past Wednesday was leather paring night, meaning that we spent all 3.5 hours of class time shaving off layers of our leather until it was thin enough to cover our books. 

Our evening began with some cookies for us early birds. Unfortunately, the rest of my evening was not as good as this cookie.

I gathered all the necessary tools (new blades, wrench, etc) and eagerly set to working using the Scharf_Fix, a leather paring machine that allows you to remove larger areas of leather than a paring knife does.

I did a quick test patch to see how much I was paring off before setting to work on my larger leather piece.

But... it wasn't long before I had made my first hole.

I pared away the damaged edge using my paring knife, shook off the mistake, and went back to work.

And it wasn't long before I had made my second hole. I continued on, determined to pare my first ever piece of leather, and wound up making 4 holes in all. The moral of the story is that leather paring is much harder than it looks or sounds, but I can't wait to get back and practice so I can develop the finesse needed for proper leather paring.

This apron covered with leather dust is from the first half of the evening, by the end of the evening, my classmates told me my whole face was covered in leather dust as well!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Getaway

The sunflower on our table at the girl + the fig

Just two photos today...

This week I was in much need of doing something that didn't relate to my normal, day-to-day life and I managed to wrangle my most favorite person ever to come along with me. We snuck away to Glen Ellen, stopping at the girl + the fig (and enjoying grilled cheese with mustard and duck confit tart) for lunch, before heading off to Jack London State Park for walking and talking in the woods while soaking up Jack London's awesomeness.

I took my camera all around with me but didn't take any pictures at the state park; I was far too busy talking and listening, and talking some more; but I think maybe memories are better that way.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Story of Mint

Everything has a story and stories make even the most mundane stuff special. For me, one of those special things is mint. A few years back, when I was having one of those days where everything just seemed like it was going wrong, my friend invited me over for afternoon tea. The tea was made with fresh mint from her garden. After hours of chatting, and a lot of tea, I was feeling like everything was just fine. Ever since, mint, and especially mint tea, puts a smile on my face. You can imagine how excited I was when that same friend gave me some mint cuttings from her yard a couple weeks ago. After sitting in water, they sprouted roots and yesterday they were potted. Now I have my own extra special mint plants at home.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Intermediate Bookbinding: Week 7

With only three classes left, there was no time to be sad this week because there was so much work to be done on our books.

First we had to measure and mark where we would put glue (PVA) on our end sheets since this time they needed to be tipped on instead of sewn on. We set our dividers to 5mm and tried to be as precise as possible. 

Then we added super (starched muslin) and layered paper as spine liner. My book just didn't want to hold it's finger rounded shape so I did the gluing in a laying press to try to help my book keeps it's shape.

Then a step that seems the same no matter what the book structure: weave the cords through the super then trim them back so everything is even.

After cutting our cover boards, it was time to cut the leather for the cover down to size and start paring the edges. One of my classmates said this green/grey leather looked like a car seat but, I think it's pretty sexy, or at least it will be, once it covers some Shakespeare.

After one unsuccessfully pared edge, I was sent back to practice edge paring on some scrap leather.

 My finger had a minor run-in with the tip of my knife (really just a prick but I didn't want to get blood on my precious leather).

But, practice makes kind of perfect. Soon I was back to the real leather and I managed a few feathers (that photo up there isn't in focus but that's a feather, I swear!).

By the end of class, I had a piece of leather that was ready for a paring machine.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Water and Rocks

This Sunday has been filled with practical things like studying for my French test but I took some time to reminisce about last Sunday's adventure when I took Highway 1 South down to photograph at Pigeon Point lighthouse and Pescadero State Beach. It was just before a storm was due to arrive and the tide was so high that there wasn't much beach to stand on but, luckily it wasn't too cold and I managed to get some good photographs. Take a look:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Intermediate Bookbinding: Week 6

This past Wednesday we had a busy class, repairing torn pages in our disbound books, sawing cords, sewing on a sewing frame, and whatnot. I was busy until a half hour after class officially ended and wasn't able to take as many photos as normal but here's a wrap up of what was done:

These hands belong to my classmates, Kate and Tina

 Before getting started we allowed ourselves several (well, many) minutes to touch and admire the leather samples our instructor Juliayn brought in. The verdict: calf skin is the softest and the samples that look like mini hides, while cute, are also somewhat disturbing.

Before getting down to the business of sawing and sewing, we needed to map out the old sewing stations from our books and then choose new ones.

After sawing holes for the cords, we each had to rig up a sewing frame (setting up a sewing frame is really hard, after 15 minutes of struggling on my own I had to call over Juliayn for help), and start sewing. And yes, for all you astute bookbinders reading this entry, I forgot to make my square knot after the second section, but don't worry, I fixed it later on.

Now that both books are sewn together, I feel like I'm actually headed somewhere with all this exciting!

After entertaining my class with a story of how I had Shakespeare's sonnet 116 recited at my marriage ceremony, my classmate Kate gave me this book to rebind next. I've never been so happy and intimidated in my life!  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Intermediate Bookbinding: Week 5

Turns out my new nail color matches the spine of my round back book!

I'm running a week behind on the bookbinding posts; I hope to catch up over the weekend. Week 5 was last week and it was all about finishing and deconstructing. 

First, we had to finish our rounded spine books:
Not much left to do, just cover the front and back covers and paste down the end sheets inside.

First the spine cloth had to be trimmed back so that it was covering 'exactly' one fifth of the cover on both the front and back.

Grey cover cloth on. I don't have a picture to show but, the shirt I wore this day was the exact same color scheme (I didn't plan it, I swear!).

Then it was time to trim the fold overs on the inside covers so they would look even underneath the pasted down end sheets.

Tadaa! All done!

Once our first books were complete, it was time to disbind old books so we could prep them for re-sewing and re-binding:
I chose 2 small Shakespeares that I will bind as one volume.

After detaching the old covers, we had to coat the spines to loosen up the old glue.

Then you scrape the old glue off, yuck!

Mostly glue free signatures

There was a minor tragedy with this folio, when I separated the signatures, this folio tore. But don't worry, I was able to repair it this week (week 6).