Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Box in A Box

This is just a simple, straightforward buckram clamshell box without any sort of gold tooling, (nothing fancy though it has a black silk moire lining. **) but it's got an another box inside. This is for The Holy Bible, published by American Bible Society in 1847 (5th edition). The client asked for an another container inside of the clamshell for family ephemera, so you see that I had to build extra walls to hold the box up. I didn't have to do that, but I wanted an extra protection for the Bible. By the way, I've noticed most clamshell boxes out there don't have four walls to perfectly secure the content. I don't know why... Well, if you are thinking of making a clamshell for your precious manuscripts, I'd recommend you to build a full wall (with the spine wall with an opening) all around the content so that the box is perfectly solid, and can withstand any damage from outside. Anyway, as for the restoration of this Bible, it's a new full leather facsimile binding with custom mottling. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1880

This is The Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Vol II , published by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., printed by Riverside Publishing. (1880) My Master's new and temporal intern from India, who's to leave the United States in a couple of weeks, was interested in the restoration of this volume while I was working on it. She comes in once or twice a week, so needless to say, I completed it without having her around. As the client is picking this up on Monday, I thought I might as well put this up on my blog so that she could see how it turned out. One thing that I mentioned to her about this restoration was how I'd recreate the gold gilding as close to the original as possible. Basically, the client asked to replace the leather corners and the spine completely, and do a facsimile gold gilding on the new spine. In cases like this, as we do not have the exact ornaments, we must create similar designs by combining a series of hand tool ornaments together. In case she's interested in seeing the finishing tools used for this work, I took a picture of them. I think I briefly mentioned to her about headcaps, so I took a picture of that as well. I hope the picture gives her some ideas about what it is. Oh, by the way, this isn't the job that crippled a joint of my shoulder blade that I mentioned on my last post, Family Devotional Bible. The book is La Merope Tragedia, for which the client wants a brand new leather case with really decorative gold gilding of a 16th~17th-century French/Italian binding "feel". I'll post the book on my blog when I finish it. I think I'll  simplify my original design a bit so that it won't break my back again!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Family Devotional Bible by The London Printing & Publishing

For about a decade, I've had a horrible chronic joint pain on the upper part of my body, namely my shoulder, shoulder blade, elbows, wrists and fingers. I normally pop in a couple of Advil to release the pain, (I'm not into any sort of pharmaceutical painkillers that are addictive!) but once the ache starts, it just doesn't go away completely for a few days. Boy, I'll probably suffer from a severe arthritis when I get old.. Well, if you get deeper into the trade of bookbinding, you'd know it's really not like how it's presumed in the modern world as a friendly craft hobby. It seems that there are more women who are interested in bookbinding than men now a days, but I tell you, Girls! It's rather tough on girls physically. Anyway, I have been having this usual, utterly annoying pain on my shoulder blade since I finished this Family Bible a few days ago. No sooner had I started working on it than I regretted choosing it as my next job because I realized I couldn't even hold the Bible with my hands, (I have rather small hands..) and it weighted a ton! This is The Family Devotional Bible with marginal references by The Rev. Matthew Henry, printed & published by The London Printing & Publishing Co., Ltd. It doesn't have a publishing dated mentioned, but based on the family record and the binding design of this type of Family Bible by this publisher, I'd assume it's published in the early-mid 1800's. I took photos of the title page and the frontispiece, so if anyone knows the publishing year of this Bible, let me know! This Bible simply required an external and internal re-hinge, and repairs and reconstructions on the edges and corners. But what's so damn troublesome was its size... The average book block of a normal Family Bible is about 2.5"~3.5", but this is one of those really thick Devotional Bible which block thickness is about 5", and with the covers, it's 5.5". Needless to say, it's super heavy... Well, it successfully triggered my chronic pain! (And stupidly, after this Bible was finished, I started working on a job that involved a serious amount of finishing (hand gold gilding) and now I'm useless. I think I'm gonna have to put the gilding work aside and probably work on something less evil !!!!!!!!! 

Someone gave me an insight as to the publishing date of this Bible. Here's his/her comment.
I own one of the family devotional bibles by Matthew Henry. The reason there is no publishing date is that it was not published at one time. This volume was published in 16 parts. To acquire a complete copy one had to start a subscription in 1840 and maintain the subscription until 1861 or 2. Anyone who acquired all 16 parts could submit them to be bound. My copy does have a publishing date of 1865. The dates that individual copies were bound could vary considerably.