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Bookbinding Project #63 – Birthday Card Recycling

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Some people excel when it comes to choosing greeting cards. My Great-Aunt-In-Law Gwen is one such person, and my friend Pat is another. They seem able both to understand what will appeal to the recipient and to know where to find the most suitable cards. As a regular visitor to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, Pat has the advantage of having available their superb range of stationery items. She never fails to send me a birthday card of the highest quality. This year, on the occasion of my sixty-third birthday, she sent me their card of Edward Stamp‘s wood engraving of a hedgehog.

63_01_Ashmolean

I decided that I would say ‘Thank you’ by making her a notebook which used the card as its front cover. Here it is, showing that Pat sees me, entirely accurately, as prickly, dormant, and somewhat endangered:

63_02_Hedgehog

Recycling Edward Stamp’s wood engraving as a book cover

This was interesting as a bookbinding project because it was the first time that I had started from the final dimensions of the book. Thus far I have always created a book-block, trimmed it, and then cut boards to fit; here I had to create a book-block that would fit the size of the card. I measured the card and allowed enough for it to wrap around a 3mm cover board; this gave the dimensions of the boards; next, I subtracted 4mm from the height and 2mm from the width of the boards to give the size of the book-block.

The next job was to prepare the manufacturer’s mark which comprised the words ‘Handmade Books by Colin Hazlehurst’. This is displayed on the last leaf of the book, so I needed to print it before collating and folding the signatures. I created six signatures of five sheets each using 90 gsm ‘Premium High White’ paper, making a notebook of 120 pages.

Then it was construction as usual: folding, stitching, trimming, glueing, and leaving to dry overnight. I added a headband and a ribbon bookmark as finishing touches.

63_03_Back

The back

63_05_EgoHocFecit

The manufacturer’s mark

63_04_Head

Rounded spine, headband, and ribbon

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2014

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Written by netkingcol

May 1, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Bookbinding Project #42: Restoring Primitive Physic

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In 1747 John Wesley wrote a book called Primitive Physic being an ‘easy and natural method of curing most diseases’. To this he added a ‘general receipt book containing upwards of four hundred of the most useful and valuable receipts’. This book offers an entertaining insight into mid-18th century medicine and domestic life.

While doing the rounds of charity shops on the lookout for a book restoration project, I was asked to see what I could do with a very distressed edition of Wesley’s book published in 1847. The following images show that the book was in a poor state of repair and virtually unusable; the covers were falling off; the first half-dozen signatures had come adrift, and the whole thing felt very fragile.

front cover

front cover

back cover

back cover

spine

spine

loose signatures

loose signatures

The first stage in repairing a book in this condition has the frightening title of ‘tearing apart’. In this instance it was very easy to remove the covers; I simply looked at them and they fell off. Slightly trickier was cutting all the threads to separate the signatures and then easing away as much of the old glue as possible. This was particularly difficult and slow work because it felt as though the pages would rip easily; but my confidence grew as I learnt the strength of the paper.

detaching the covers

detaching the covers

separating the signatures

separating the signatures

With a clean set of eighteen signatures, the next step was to work out where the tapes and the new stitches would go. Holding the signature in a clamp between two pieces of cover board, I could judge where to place the tapes so as to avoid all previous holes. I measured the positions and transferred the readings to a piece of board. It’s important to pierce holes in the signatures before starting to stitch. My technique for this is to clamp the signature and the marked-up board to the bench and pierce the signature at the positions marked on the board (see the illustration below).

working out tape location

working out tape location

preparing to pierce a signature

preparing to pierce a signature

With the signatures pierced the relaxing task of sewing them back together could begin. I say relaxing, and mostly it was, but I had to stop a few times to reinforce some of the pages where they were worn out; you simply cannot sew fresh air; it has no grip. This was the first book in which I had to use more than one length of thread. I attached a second piece with a bowline, positioning the knot over one of the tapes (see the image below). After the text block was sewn, I attached a strip of mull with a generous amount of glue. The project was beginning to feel more like a book again.

the sewn textblock

the sewn textblock

attaching the mull

attaching the mull

While the mull was drying I thought about how the cover would look. I searched the web for photos of the original covers, but none were to be found. I came across somebody selling a copy of Primitive Physic on ebay, but its covers were just as unattractive as those I had removed. However, the spine image was decent enough, so I decided that I would put a fairly plain cover on the book itself and create a dust jacket to give it some character.

When the mull was dry I attached endpapers, made from 100gsm vellum laid paper, and rounded the corners to match the book. I trimmed the tapes and mull and started to make the case using 1mm grey board and black buckram for the rounded spine.

trimmed text block with endpapers attached

trimmed text block with endpapers attached

hard back with rounded spine

hard back with rounded spine

The next task was to cover the boards with a suitable card. I chose a colour that matched both the endpapers and the somewhat discoloured pages of the book. The dust jacket was made creating the design in Word and printing on a Ryman P1 label (A4 size). I attached the label to an A4 sheet of 100gsm bright white paper and then covered the label with self-adhesive cover film (sticky-backed plastic). After trimming to size, I scored the inside faces of the jacket so it would wrap easily around the book. Finally, I cut bevels in the flaps and the job was done.

completed book

completed book

dust jacket

dust jacket

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2013

Written by netkingcol

December 16, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Anglo-Saxon Roots

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I have started making regular visits to the refurbished Central Library in Liverpool. Outside it still has its Victorian façade, but inside is a vast atrium which has echoes of the Guggenheim in New York. I haven’t explored all of it yet, so my favourite room is currently the original Picton Reading Room – a vast circular space lined on three levels with books from floor to ceiling – it’s a cylinder of words.

Through random browsing, I came across the text: Complete Old English (Anglo-Saxon) by Mark Atherton. It’s in the Teach Yourself series, an earlier form of For Dummies, but less jejune. On impulse, I borrowed the book and scanned through it on the bus home. What a surprise when I reached Chapter 10 and saw the heading: These are the bounds of the pasture at Hazelhurst. It turns out that, in 1018, King Cnut granted some land called hæselersc to archbishop Lyfing. That land is in a place that is now called Lower Hazelhurst in Sussex. I know that my name is spelled differently (Hazlehurst), but its origin is surely the same.

This is a transcription of part of the charter, penned in my neatest Chancery almost-but-not-quite-cursive:

charter

Being a reactive sort of a person, I have thrown my time into studying Anglo-Saxon and letting it spill over into another current pastime: bookbinding. After a lifetime of computer programming, I find that traditional craft gives me a level of satisfaction that I used to get from coding. Even so, my first act was to search for and download an Anglo-Saxon font; I chose the Junius font, as recommended by the University of Virginia.

Using this font, my first bookbinding project was a copy of Beowulf in Anglo-Saxon:

beowulf_text

I thought this would give me something to translate as my Anglo-Saxon wordhoard grows. I also found, courtesy of the Gutenberg Project, the text of Henry Sweet’s Anglo-Saxon Primer. I bound this as a hardback book:

AngloSaxonPrimer

but immediately found errors in it (mine not Henry’s), so I have on my to-do list to knock this book into shape.

All in all, like Jethro Tull, I’m happy, smiling, and living in the past.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2013

or, to put it another way:

myLogo

Bookbinding Project #13

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Not wanting to miss the opportunity of a bookbinding project, I decided that my great-nephew, George, who will be two years old early next year, might need something to distract him at a wedding we both attended over the Late Summer Bank Holiday.

I found some old index cards that used to belong to George’s great-great-grandfather, Arthur Walker. I folded these and stitched them into a book-block. Then I made a hard cover. The cover design was printed on an A4 label (Ryman P1) which I laminated with some sticky-backed plastic. The cover boards were positioned over the label and pressed down to adhere them.

The purpose of the gift was to give George a diverting activity, so I bought a rainbow of wax crayons which were held to the book with a length of elastic sewn into a loop.

To keep everything together, I wanted to make a slipcase, my first ever. The process for marking out, cutting, and constructing the slipcase I found in Aldren A. Watson’s book: Hand Bookbinding, A Manual of Instruction and followed Sage Reynolds’ video for lining and covering it. I can whole-heartedly recommend the very useful guidance on the topic of bookbinding to be found in the YouTube videos presented by Sage Reynolds.

It gave me a lot of pleasure to create this gift and, of course, George took absolutely no notice of it when there was so much excitement and adventure to be had at the big party.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2013

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Written by netkingcol

August 29, 2013 at 4:52 pm

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