Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Barque, a sail journal by Robert Simonson.


We have a rather strict "unwritten policy" (or should I say a common sense?) not to read clients' hand written personal notes and records. But when it comes to very old documents and manuscripts, we certainly get fascinated of checking them out! (duh,,, that's one of the most beautiful aspects of having a job that handles "history", eh?) This torn notebook came in several months ago, and I finally get to work on it. A straightforward job: a brand-new facsimile binding. A suitable job for a binder with not so much energy. The name of the author is Robert Simonson, whose hand-writing is magnificent. ( Boy, people used to write beautifully, you know?) Some pages are written in Hebrew and Greek, and a language that's unknown to me, along with some hand drawn illustrations of landscapes. A very mysterious book for sure. Though the writings are beautiful (or maybe because of it), I had hard time reading his cursive letters! So, I couldn't precisely figure out who he actually was. But looks like he was on board, not as a captain or crew, but as an investor of some kind?  - There are pages containing the records of money movements of hundreds and thousands!? You know of how much a thousand dollars is equivalent to that of today's!? Well, whoever Mr. Simonson was, he sure was a helluva rich dude with an impeccable writing.


Anyway, the client asked for a brand new facsimile half binding with a similar marble paper. The thing about this book is that there are two different notebooks combined together, meaning that they were bound together after these notebooks were filled. ( Bound by a stationary firm out of New York, Jansen & Bell, so I guess this notebook is from mid to late 19th century.) So the first half and last part are different in sizes. In a case like this, you have to "jog" to the top when sewing, yeah? It's OK to have a book that's not "flush" on the bottom, but not OK if the top edge is ragged.

The restoration of this book involved a complete resewing, custom leather dying, antiquing of endpaper to match the preserved half endpaper, sewn headbands and paper restoration.

Oh, by the way, regarding our "unwritten policy", if you put "My Hate List" on the last page of your childhood diary, we can't help but read it. So be aware. hahaha. (I don't know what he did, but she hated you, Mike.. )

10 comments:

  1. Dear MHR, thanks so much for your lovely post, the pictures are beautiful!!
    And your account is very interesting... it enticed my curiosity by the author. I think that restaurative bookbindery has this romantic aura.
    I hope your health has improved since last post.
    It is great to see you around active.
    Thanks again!!

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    1. Thanks, Lucia! Though I have to keep my condition in check all the time, my overall health is indeed improving and I've been feeling pretty good lately. - I've gained back 4~5 kilos, (thank God!) and have a bit more energy than a few months ago, yey!

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  2. Stunning work! What is a "straightforward job" for you would be a mountain to climb for me! But a mostly pleasant mountain...

    "...the client asked for a brand new facsimile half binding with a similar marble paper". That original marbling looks anything but typical. How in the world did you find something like it? Or did you create it yourself?

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    1. Thanks Todd. ;-) Basically any new-cover work is second nature to me that's rather comforting mentally. This was a mere new binding job that didn't involve meticulous restoration of mending or reconstruction or anything overly intricate, so it really was a straightforward job.

      Unfortunately I don't do marbling. :-( I wish I had time to get hands on the field seriously, though. This particular marble isn't rare at all as a matter fact. It's a Spanish marble with Turkish base. (The liner gradated lines define Spanish, and typically are combined with Turkish shell marble. ) You'd often see this on books from 18th~19th century but also on books from as old as 17th century sometimes.

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    2. Thanks for the reply about marbling; I learn something every time I come here! Still, to find a nearly exact match amazes me. Aside from that, though, your workmanship is, as always, tremendous; the leather dyeing, paring, gold tooling... These are skills I don't know if I'll ever achieve, especially since I've become overly reliant on shortcuts like a little foil-stamping machine, a homemade scharf-fix paring machine, a razor blade skiving knife, etc.

      Would love to learn more about the way you do gold tooling. Perhaps a future "bookbinding tips/videos" topic?

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  3. I LOVE the marble-leather half bound look of the past centuries. It makes me go oooOOooooh, like, every time lol.

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    1. Go oooOOooooh, eh? haha. Thanks Vince.

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  4. You're welcome and like every other book I make is like this. My mission is to make other people go......ya know.

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  5. Hi MHR,

    I am a real fan of your work and videos, when are you going to do the long awaited "Case Making" video?

    Ihab

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    1. Thanks, Ihab. As for the Youtube video, I'm not sure when I can spare time to make it at this moment, but it'll be up sometimes in the future for sure. ;-)

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