Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Christmas Carol,1844

People dressing up as bigfoot and cat woman have disappeared from the street, and a long, hard fought battle of the U.S. presidential election has finally come to an end. Whether or not the result was in your favor, now it's time to shift your focus into a positivity. What's done is done, and anger and frustration only create more anger, eh? Suppose, you drop $100 bill, and keep whining and frustrated about it for a long time. What does it create? You are making yourself miserable by thinking about it on top of the fact that you lost $100. It's a double whammy, yo! So, now, get serious about how big of a turkey you should roast for Thanksgiving (haha...) and what to get for Christmas for your loved ones. I always say this around this time of the year, but please don't bring Christmas rush jobs at the last minute! We might close Christmas orders as early as two weeks prior to Christmas depending on how backed-up we are. So gather up your ideas and get here quickly!

This is one of our very organized client's Christmas restoration jobs that was sent in a few weeks ago. This is a fourth edition of A Christmas Carol, 1844. Although it's a fourth edition, it's still a pricey book. So needless to say, all original material had to be preserved and the restoration must be done as invisible as possible. Restoring old cloth binding can be tricky as matching a new material to the original  takes some skills. Master thinks I'm better at it, so it came to my workbench.

Well, if you know anyone who resembles $$ Old Scrooge $$, remind him of this classic again. It's never too late!

Like Tiny Tim says, "God Bless Us, Every One!" ~ Hope for peace from M.H.R.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Works of William Penn

I was pretty determined to make more rapid progress on the two works of William Penn when I walked into the bindery on Thursday. No sooner had I gotten in than a bag of cookies on the counter got my full, I mean, FULL attention; Our current intern, Ms.S brought us homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. Oh, heck. Cookies first, work second. Common sense, yo! As I was hogging down the cookies like I haven't eaten for a week, an image of the Quaker Oats dude kept coming to my mind; his peculiar smile interfering with my pleasure time of the sweet deliciousness, as if to tell me to shift my focus back to work. Duh! Stop it! Stop smiling! Who is this Quaker dude, anyway!

So I googled it.  ....

And, his identity turned out to be ... ahh... none other than William Penn, indeed...... coincidence? uhh... you tell me, crazy paranormal junkies!

So the books here are two different works by William Penn. One is a first edition Wisdom Justified published in 1673. And the other is A Treatise of Oaths, also a first edition published in 1713. Basically, the client asked me to bind them identically based on the original cover of A Treatise of Oaths. I could simply blind-tool the Cambridge just like the original, but it was rather too boring, to be honest. So I decided to add another layer of mottling to give an extra dimension; you can easily make normally a too rigid Cambridge prettier by doing multiple layers. ;-)

Wisdom Justified was missing the title page, so the client asked me to find it online, and print/insert it in the book. Boy, you can find anything online nowadays, eh? I digitally cleaned it up and printed it on a 17th century antique paper. - we keep a collection of antique papers of different eras for these sort of jobs. (Just like forgers would. sheeee!)
One interesting thing about this work is that Wisdom Justified has a hand written note by George Whitehead, one of the original Quaker leaders with whom Penn had debated on the foundation of Quakerism. The note suggests the book was a gift from Penn.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Land of Nakoda, 1942

I briefly mentioned onlay on my previous post, so I thought I might as well share a binding with butt-joints this time. Butt-joint, as you can imagine, is a method of which two or more pieces of cover materials are butt-jointed to form a multicolored/textured surface. It can be done in book cloth, fabric or leather as the binding shown on this post. This is such an excellent way to express your artistic creativity, as well as to recycle scrap that's too small to use for normal bindings. ;-) It's sort of like quilting, you see?

An important thing that you need to concern is the thickness of the materials. Each piece must be of the same thickness, or the surface won't be flat. And make sure to cut each piece precisely and butt-joint the edges seamlessly. - you don't want to see any gaps between the patterns!

This book is about Sioux Indians, and the client asked me to create a design that reflects their traditional hide paintings used for crafts such as parfleches. Well, their geometric patterns and graphics are perfect for a butt-joint binding, so I’ve decided to use the method along with onlays. - the red banners are onlayed and the zigzag background consists of butt-jointed kid and calf hides.

This is an autographed, first edition copy of Land of Nakoda, The Story of the Assiniboine Indians, by James L. Long and William Standing. (1942)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Bertuchs' Bilderbuch für Kinder

One of the frustrating medical conditions I've developed is sudden trembling / painful cramps of my hands and fingers, which had gotten so bad a few years ago that I really had to take time off from work for a long long time. The thing is, you can't bind a book when your hands are screwed up. It's the worst thing that can happen to a bookbinder.

This particular condition has gotten better these days, so the last few months, I decided to work on books that required relatively heavy tooling. This is one of them; Bilderbuch für Kinder by F. J. Bertuchs. Though my hands' spasm bullshit had gotten quieter and less frequent, a slight trembling tends to start whenever my mind focuses on my fingers, and the more I focus, the bigger the trembling becomes.. It's a strange medical mystery, and I tell you what; IT'S F***ING ANNOYING!  (excuse me for my French..)

Anyway, one of our regular clients brought this three-volume set of Bertuchs' Bilderbuch für Kinder a few years ago, - just around the time I started getting really sick, and it has been put aside until now due to my absence. I feel absolutely horrible about this delay, but now it's done! He brought a picture of a set of volumes (pictured left) and asked for a brand new leather binding just like that. As you see on the picture, the volume numbers are tooled on onlay; a thinly skived leather is trimmed in shape and glued directly onto the surface, then the edge is tooled blind or in gold afterwards. It's a common practice, but I don't think I've shown an example of onlay on my blog before, so I decided to post this work here this time. You can have fun with onlay for your personal project for sure! But make sure to skive the leather well, and tool the edge afterwards. Or, the leather piece will peel off easily, and let me just be frank; it just simply doesn't look good. ;-)

 Bilderbuch für Kinder, translates as "picture book for children" in German, is filled with lots of coolest picture plates. I'll try to put some of them up on my blog when I get a chance. ;-)
The volumes have been picked up before I took photos of the picture plates.. So I can't put them on my blog. Sorry!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Civil Wars of Spain, 1652

I realized I haven't posted anything since the new year began, and as it so happened I've kept before pictures of this particular client's books, I just took after pictures of the latest work and decided to put it up. And though it's a month and half late, a happy new year to ya' all! 

The book is The Civil Wars of Spain by Prudencio de Sandoval, (1652). The client asked for a brand new leather binding as one of the original boards was missing. The leather is dyed to make it look appropriate for the era and I chose a red skiver as it was common around the time. I used the raw flyleaf as endpapers for this binding though I normally don't do that. In case some of you aren't familiar with flyleaf, it's the blank sheets at the beginning and the end of a book. Yeah, THAT blank pages got a name just like anything else in the world. haha.. Anyway, traditionally, a book is cased-in with flyleaf as endpapers, and then, if it's preferred, endpapers are laminated onto it afterwards. 

There was a sheet of unrelated, incomplete manuscripts sewn as a part of original flyleaf on each front and back of the book, and the client asked me to take them out as he was curious as to what they were. When you take out things like this from a book, you gotta make sure to indicate where they came from, in case they are separated from the book. Or you never know what the hell they are!

By the way, to update my health status, I'm doing a lot better! Thank you! I hope it keeps getting better!