Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Private Journal of Capt. G. F. Lyon, 1824

This year's first month ends with a tremendous sorrow. I'm sure you've heard the news of a part of Timbuktu manuscripts have been destroyed by the militants about a week ago.(The latest article on MSNBC. 02/02/2013) When the news of the militants stated invading Mali broke out last year, I KNEW they were going to harm the libraries sooner or later. But, I just kept praying that they would spare the libraries, - one of the most important treasures that the continent of Africa could offer. My prayer was unanswered unfortunately. Back in 2000, we were offered to go to Timbuktu to assist the locals on the preservation of thousands of newly discovered, untranslated, unknown manuscripts of which UNESCO was a sponsor. We declined the offer, but kept a close eye on the progress of their efforts on cataloging, restoration and the study of the contents over the years. So, when I heard the news of the attack, I took it personally and my heart physically ached. I broke two pencils in half out of rage. One of the latest news reports that "custodians of the libraries worked quietly throughout the militant occupation to ensure the safety of the manuscripts." but if it wasn't the case, we lost a world heritage, yet again. 

I was working on a book that was damaged by the fire when the news was being broadcasted. I kept thinking about the fate of this book being saved and that of a thousand-year-old manuscripts being burnt to ashes by the a$$holes... As I'm writing this, I'm getting upset again.. >:O
Anyway, the book I "saved" is The Private Journal of Capt. G. F. Lyon, published by John Murray in London. (First Edition, 1824) The restoration involved replacing the leather spine and corners with antiqued leather, facsimile gold tooling on the spine and internal cloth hinges.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Oxfordshire Contest, 1753

Here's an interesting book to share with you. This is The Oxfordshire Contest: or the whole controversy between The Old and New Interest, printed for W. Owen. (London, near Temple Bar, 1753) Looks like the publisher, William Owen was put on a trial for publishing this and other "libel" books that were considered "against the government", for which he was acquitted. This book is a collection of tracts and pamphlets, and corresponding letters exchanged between the oppositions, the Tories and the Whigs prior to the infamous Oxfordshire general election of 1754. I was flipping through this book, and found their humorous, rather "polite" insults against each other amusing. (Equivalent of those nasty "attack commercials" of politicians today? People used to be more creative ..) Social issues and the stand of women in the 1700's shown in this book are very interesting as well. The whole book is digitally available online, so I linked it above. (Click on the title above.) Anyway, the client of this book asked for a brand new facsimile half binding with hand marbled paper. This book was rebound previously, so I don't know how the real original spine looked like, so I just recreated the spine as it was. The original sewing wasn't done perfectly, resulting in the cords being askance. Therefore I created a set of false-raised cords instead of using the actual sewing cords for the raised bands. As for the marble paper, I chose a nonpareil just like the original, but one with a bit of an arc and in more neutral color coordination. I was just gonna sew simple conservation headbands, but decided to do a set of French double with a blue/turquoise and a hint of copper threads. I thought that they'd look nice with the marble. The original book didn't have marble paper endsheets, so I used paper that I'd antiqued, so that the brand new paper doesn't ruin the feel of the 260-year old book.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bookbinding 101 Determining the Paper Grain

A Happy New Year to you all! It's been almost a year since I last posted a video on Youtube, so I've been feeling guilty about my long absence ever since. - believe it or not, there is a thousand subscribers to my channel now... wow... I really didn't expect this much reaction from so many people when I first posted a video... Well, anyway, the holiday season's over, and I had a moment of spare time last night, so I made this short clip. My next video was supposed to be a basic case making, but before going forward, I just felt I needed to add this extra information that's actually very important. When binding a book, the direction of which the grain of paper is running affects on the execution, ease of the binding process, user-friendliness and the longevity of  the book. So, although this small detail seems to be insignificant, it is actually one of the most important elements we have to pay attention to. Lots of antique books have short grain pages, but that's mainly because of a lack of resources and technologies back then. We aren't living in an ancient world where we have to compromise our needs to create a better quality product because we have to save every scrap paper or something, so for the sake of the quality, let's just keep the grain of pages, endpapers and boards parallel to the spine of a book. :-)