Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Part II, Bookbinding Workshop in Santa, Idaho

Days 2-5 or so: After arising and making my way down the spooky steps from my sleeping nest in the loft of the Croft's guest cabin, I had an excellent breakfast, prepared by Melodie Croft (Jim's wife), and laboured away on my Gothic book.
After sewing the pages to pieces of thick flax cord, I "fluffed" the ends, then soaked them in wheat paste and twisted them into points. After they dried, the points were seriously hard, and thus I could lace the paper to the covers by poking the cords through holes I had drilled in the wood board covers.

Next, I worked on the boards for the covers. I had to saw a piece of board (in this case, sycamore wood) to get covers the proper size. I don't have a photo of me using a hand saw, but lets just say it wasn't pretty. I did get better (eventually), especially after I realized I was holding the saw at the wrong angle.

After cutting the boards, I had to file them until they were smooth, and shape the edges of the boards so they would fit properly when I laced them to the paper. It was interesting that each board had to be shaped a little differently, and I continually had to go back and make little adjustments as I was going along, in order to get the paper and boards to fit together properly so I wouldn't end up with a hideous, misshapen thing that could only come out in the dead of night.
Here are covers for both of my books (the one I made, and the one I haven't finished yet).

Hurray, lunch time! A short jaunt past Rusty, the Crofts' dog, ......

....taking the path through Melodie's beautiful garden..... the outdoor kitchen for a lunch I didn't have to cook myself. What could be better?!

Then back to work. After much shaping and swearing under my breath, I got the boards to properly fit into the "shoulders" of the sewn paper, laced them together (note my pointy, glued cords) and the thing actually starts to look like a book.

Jim uses hand tools to make his books. Here are some that I used. This is a photo of some hand planes, which gave the wood a beautiful, smooth surface.

And here is one of my book covers, clamped into a workmate thingie. Lying next to it is a farrier's rasp (a rasp used to file horse's hooves). It works great to smooth off edges of the covers and file them down (now you know what horses have to do with books).

Finally, supper, a little swig of Jim's homemade mead, then off to bed in my little loft nest, listening to the pygmy owls hooting outside, dreaming of book covers...

Next time: wrestling leather, beating up on brass.


Velma said...

i've been loving revisiting the crofts through your experience. rusty, the garden, (the GARDEN!), outdoor kitchen, tools and work tables, my tipi. thanks for this.
(oh, and the trombone!)

Sweetwater Designs said...

what could be sweeter than sharing a passion with others who are as obsessive about your work as you? :)
Can't wait to see the covers that result from this getaway~