Monday, September 30, 2013

Sophocles : Oedipus Coloneus, 1885

We've had an unusually dry, spectacular summer this year, but it looks like the rain is catching up with our luck. An introvert like me wouldn't mind a gloomy rain, in fact, I'd rather prefer it to a persistent glare of sunshine. But, it appears that all the debt of rain have concentrated in the last few days and it's been pouring like a crazy river with a strong gust that resulted in flood and fallen trees in some parts of our state. I heard there was a tornado here today as well... Tornado!? It normally doesn't happen here. I hope no one got hurt... What an insane weather it's been, though... So, I've been leaving all the craziness outside and cocooning myself with a calmness of dusty old books in this century old basement.

This book I chose to work on came in several months ago and has been on top of our backlog list for quite sometime. So I have been fully aware of this book, - not that I had forgotten about it or anything. What the client asked us to do is to create a brand new leather spine with facsimile gold tooling, as the condition of the original spine leather was deteriorating to the point when it was touched, it fell apart. The reason why I have been putting this book aside until now was because I wasn't one hundred percent sure how to deal with the former restoration. As you see, it had been rebacked and hinged previously with the original spine leather glued back on. For some reason, I just couldn't decide whether to leave parts of the visually obvious previous restoration as is and restore the book accordingly, or rid all of it in order to set the base to a default so that I could make my restoration work seamless and wouldn't look obvious. Anyway, I chose the latter because it's the right thing to do despite of the difficulty of matching the leather perfectly to the pasta espaƱola. I had series of tools that were pretty similar to the original, so everything went smoothly after having made up my mind about the direction. (The removing and cleaning of the previous restoration of superficial internal cloth hinges was nasty though..)

This is Sophocles, the plays and fragments, Part II. Oedipus Coloneus, by Richard C. Jebb, published by Cambridge University Press. (London, 1885) The restoration involved a rehinge with custom-dyed leather, facsimile gold tooling, internal cloth hinges and restoration on the edges and corners.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cruise of the USS Dolphin, 1831

One of our returning clients dropped off this book last December and asked us to create a brand new leather binding with a custom design on its cover. Master had been holding this work for several months due to his preoccupation, but decided to entrust me with it back in June-July. When it comes to custom designs, most of our clients already have particular and clear designs they want, so all we have to do is to simply "materialize" it for them. But this work was different. The client had very vague ideas as to how he wanted it to look; however, he was certain that he wanted the design to be very simple and somewhat abstract. - Art Deco-like, yet to represent the subject of this book in some way. (like using a harpoon, whale, ship and ocean the basis of the design.) Humm... you see, it took me a while to get myself into his mind and precisely come up with the design that he had envisioned. I was so relieved that he liked the design I submitted very much. (whew!) As much as I admire old fashioned Rococo-Victorian designs in binding as a binder, I also adore Art Deco. So, it was actually fun to brain storm in sketches and visualize his wish. He won't be able to pick up this book until December, but because it turned out to be exactly the same as the design that I showed him in graphic, I think he'll like it. One thing I kinda regret is that I didn't use a smaller wheel for the curved lines, so the lines became a bit inconsistent. But hey, they are supposed to be waves, so shouldn't slight wobble be alright ?!? :-p
UPDATE 11/02/2013 : The client later requested for a custom slipcase with a matching marble inner liner, so I just added the picture above.
This is Journal of a Cruise of the United States Schooner Dolphin, by Hiram Paulding, published by G. & C. & H. Carvill. (New York, 1831.) The restoration / rebinding involved a complete resewing, recreation of a frontispiece map, a sewn upper headband and a new full leather binding with French curl marble endpapers and a gold tooling of the custom design.