Thursday, January 17, 2008

Leather Journal

So, for my first project from Keith Smith's Non-Adhesive Bindings, Vol.1, I made a pocket-sized (31/2" x 4 3/4") longstitch journal. I used a lovely, velvety, thin brown deerskin for the cover, and some 80 lb Mohawk Via paper. In Smith's book, it's called a "Longstitch Through Slotted Wrapper Cover, but as you can see in this picture, I used pierced holes instead of slots. I'd like to try making one with slots some day, but I was in a piercing mood, not a slot-cutting mood when I made it, so that's what happened :)

I used a butterscotch coloured waxed linen thread to sew it with, which is very pretty. I've been making a lot of case bound (hardcover) books lately, and it's nice to get back to doing a mix of bookbinding styles. Keeps things fresh, going back and forth.
Gluing a book together (which is what I do with case bound books) is a very different experience than doing a sewn binding. I use pva glue for my case-bound books, and it dries very quickly, so I have to work fast before the glue dries. When I first started making case-bound books, I was in a total panic, trying to remember to do all the million-and-one steps in making the book (gluing the book cloth, and sticking the cloth and paper to the binders board, and cutting the corners of the paper, and folding corners, etc., etc.) in the right order before the glue dried out (I could and did reapply the glue, but hate having to do that too much). After making my bazillionth case-bound book, though, I'm pretty much on auto-pilot when I do it these days, which is a relief after those early, sweaty-palmed days. That said, there still is a certain zesty feeling to getting all those pieces assembled before the glue dries up.

Making stitched-spine books requires focus, but is a bit more relaxed, as there aren't any glue issues to deal with. Sort of green tea bookbinding, as opposed to double-shot-of-espresso case-bound bookbinding...

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