Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Covering Leonardo Part II

After cutting out and marking up the cover, it is pared at head and tail of the spine to allow it to turn in and lie properly, otherwise the thickness of the leather will be too bulky. On this cover I haven't edge pared the turn-ins as it will look better to fill in the 'well' of the inside covers and that will accommodate the ends of the slips so that they don't show as ugly lumps under the end papers. I have pared the corners so that when they are turned they will also lie flat.
The lines are guides to where the boards will be positioned and will be checked and adjusted before actually adhering to the leather. It is important to ensure that the spine width is exactly right and that the boards are square, otherwise the cover will not be square. 
          I mentioned blind-tooling the flap and it is easiest to do this before attaching the boards. For this I used a double-line fillet wheel which I had made in a small size and is the centre tool of those shown below.

The tool is heated on a finishing stove and rolled along the place where you want a line to appear. Blind-tooling is done without gold, the heat and pressure of the tool make a permanent impression on the leather and darken it. The other tools shown are a single line fillet (above) and a dotted-line fillet below, both also made to order for using on small books. The dotted-line fillet was made from a cog wheel for a clock.
   After tooling the flap the prepared boards are adhered to the cover, edges turned in and corners made. After a light pressing, this will now be ready for the title to be blocked on the front cover. Here is a view of the inside of the cover, before the fore edge sides are turned in.

On the left edge of the left hand board (the front cover) you can see a small square where I have removed an 8mm x 8mm piece, this is to allow for the thickness of the ribbon which will be inserted through a slit in the turn-in and firmly glued down. By removing a little of the board the ribbon will not make a bump in the turn-in. 
In my next post I will show how the title is blocked onto the front cover. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Covering Leonardo; Art of the Book 08

Apologies for the long delay in posting, life intervened.
Having sewn the text block, the next step is to prepare the cover for "Leonardo Dreams"....
          In this binding the cover is made off the book, and laced on afterwards with the vellum slips. 
The first step is to make a template to use as a pattern to cut the leather. When the book is part of an edition I lay it out on the whole skin to make sure that I can cut enough covers to complete the whole edition. It is a mistake to assume that you will always be able to buy the same shade again as dyestuffs are sometimes discontinued or unavailable, as I have discovered in the past! 

          The template is marked up to show the turn-ins and the spine area. I usually cut one cover to make up a proof, and then when I'm satisfied that the binding works, I cut the covers for the whole edition. On this template you can see the projection on one side for the tab that will fold over the fore edge. This tab references the style of a portfolio and with the ribbon ties, protects the fore edge of the book. It will be lined with a thin piece of leather.

          On the cover itself I have marked out the turn-ins, the tab and the spine area. The shaded area will be cut off before I start to pare the leather. Leather for bookbinding, even on small books needs to be sufficiently substantial not to tear, so I don't use skiver leather. When the leather in the spine area is pared correctly it will fold over neatly at head and tail. The tab will be blind tooled with a double-line fillet wheel before the boards are adhered to the leather. 
          A note about book boards: binders board is hard-rolled and dense, and in the UK is called mill board and in the USA called Davey board. The boards need to be thick enough that they don't bend or warp when the leather is applied. I usually use not less than 1.6 mm thickness. Of course, for larger books heavier boards are necessary. After cutting the boards, on small books I often bevel the edges so that they look less heavy, but that is purely for appearance.

The Art of the Book 08 - CBBAG's 25th Anniversary Exhibition
          If you are anywhere near the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island between now and January 5th, be sure to check out this exhibition. It is in the McPherson Library, in the Maltwood Gallery, and is a juried international exhibition of books and the book arts. The exhibition is a five-yearly event staged by the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, (known as CBBAG, pronounced 'cabbage') and includes fine bindings, fine printing, paper making, calligraphy, artists books, and  paper decoration. Entrance free - I highly recommend that you see it.

The exhibition opened in Toronto in October of 2008, and has travelled to many different venues across Canada, finishing at UVic. It is an extraordinary achievement, largely due to the hard work of two dedicated people, Shelagh Smith and Susan Corrigan, who have been organizing this for twenty-five years.