book repair, part four

Now that the textblock has been prepared for rebacking, I'm turning my attention to the original cover boards. In reviewing their condition, I determined the boards can be reattached to the book with a new spine piece and hinge material inserted beneath the existing cloth and pastedown. While the boards are detached, I'll do some light mending work to consolidate the delaminated board edges and fill in areas that are missing cloth with some tinted Japanese tissues. Prior to this mending work, I lifted about 5/8 inch of the cloth covering and pastedown material from the spine edge.

book repair, part three

While in grad school I took a Workshop in Book Arts course focused on book repair. The course offered an introduction to guarding, mending, and washing techniques alongside discussions of paper composition, materials you would likely encounter in conservation, and treatment report documentation. I wrote a 2-part blog series after completing the workshop that outlined some of the paper mending processes I practiced on a book that belonged to my great grandfather. Today I'm picking things up where that series left off: sewing, consolidating, rounding, backing, and lining.

clamshell box mockup

Lately I've been working through the design for a clamshell box to house a collection of letterpress printed broadsides. I'm building 10 boxes, so I need to work out a mockup of the design prior to mass trimming my materials on the board shear.

I took as inspiration for this clamshell box the design for a single tray box Jana Pullman describes on her blog About the Binding. In her design, she builds openings into each side of the single tray for easy handling of a series of photographs. The cutouts I've built into the clamshell box below span a distance of 1/4 inch from the top of the inner tray; this measurement corresponds with the material thickness of the prints. A raised platform will be built into the inner tray to elevate the prints to the height of these cutouts.

springback binding project: covering in cloth

Here it is folks, the final springback binding post! I had to work quickly while covering the book in a beautiful ochre cloth, but the images below a) provide insight into the covering process itself and b) reveal a regrettable decision I made early in the book's construction related to the sewn endbands and the thin museum board.  


As promised many posts ago, here's a video of the book springing into its open position:

springback binding project: forming the spring

In this third installment of the springback binding series I will demonstrate the process of building the spring mechanism. As you may recall, I began trimming my materials short of the full dimension of the book so as to reveal the underlying structural components of the book. I began this cutaway process in my previous entry with the spine stiffener piece trimmed about 1/3 short of the height of the book.

I decided to construct my spring by directly applying layers of paper to the spine of the book. An alternative method exists in which the spring is made off the book and later adhered so that it cups the spine. Either method serves the same function: as the user opens the book, the thin "lever" museum boards push against the thick material covering the spine in order to "spring" the textblock into an open position.

In order to build the spring directly on the book, I attached layers of Stonehenge paper one by one to the spine. Each layer extends onto the shoulder of the book by about 3 mm. It is important to note that you must measure the new distance from shoulder-to-shoulder for each layer of paper. To attach each layer:

  • I dampened the trimmed Stonehenge paper allowing it to curl in the direction of the paper grain
  • Checked the fit of the paper around the spine of the book and used my fingers to help the paper conform to the shape of the spine
  • Glued out the paper and adhered it to the spine, using my bone folder to ensure each layer was properly adhered.

springback binding project: spine linings, thin boards, spine stiffener

For this next installment of the springback binding tutorial, I must begin by apologizing for my neglect. I sped through consolidating the spine, rounding the text block, applying a Japanese tissue lining, and sewing endbands without stopping to snap pictures. Below is a quick overview of those processes before the images resume:

  • To consolidate the text block, I applied a mix of PVA and methyl cellulose to the spine of the book after carefully ensuring that the sections of the book were jogged into place at the head of the book and that the book was square (you can use a metal triangle butted up against the spine, head, tail, and fore edge to check the position.) You can also use a reversible wheat starch paste for this step.
  • Next, I formed the spine into a rounded shape using a bookbinding hammer. I applied a thin Japanese tissue lining to the spine of the book to help maintain this shape while I sewed endbands to the head and tail of the book.
  • I used a two-color endband sewing pattern with the bead formed on the front, following the helpful diagrams from Jane Greenfield and Jenny Hille's book Headbands: How to Work Them

springback binding project: prep and sewing

Back in 2012, I attended Paper & Book Intensive at Ox-Bow School of Art in Saugatuck, Michigan. One of the instructors, Larry Yerkes, taught a springback binding structure that I knew I wanted to try out down the road. This semester, I'm making a springback model for an independent project credit. I'm trying to remember to take pictures along the way to document the process step-by-step. I'll upload a video in the final installment of posts to demonstrate the spring in action. You will all be amazed! Unless it fails. In which case, you can laugh at and/or shed a tear with me.

Note: I used Peter Verheyen and Donia Conn's instructions from The Book Arts Web to explore this binding structure, with a few deviations. I would recommend visiting that tutorial for more information about the structure and additional details about each step. 

local book arts exhibits

If you happen to be a book enthusiast in the Tuscaloosa area, there are a few book arts shows and artist talks worth checking out this month. An exhibit featuring advanced binding work by students in the MFA in the Book Arts program finds a home in the second floor gallery cases of Gorgas Library. The show includes examples of historic binding models, cutaway teaching models, and a few more contemporary models.

Advanced Binding Structures from The MFA in the Book Arts Program, Gorgas Library

And if that isn't enough, the season for MFA candidates to exhibit and defend their thesis work is here. This evening a group show featuring work by Kate Barber, Crane Giamo, Ashley Gorham, Laura Rowley, and Thomasina Taylor opens at Harrison Galleries in downtown Tuscaloosa. On Monday April 7th each student will give an artist talk emphasizing process as part of their defense (event starts at 6pm, Gorgas 205). Later in the week, Mo Fiorella will present her thesis work which will be available to view in the Gorgas Library fifth floor gallery space (presentation at 1pm, April 11, Gorgas 503).