Monday, January 31, 2011

Covering Leonardo - Part V

          The last steps in the binding of "Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine" - at last, you say. It takes longer to describe than it does to make ;-) Filling the inside boards is a fairly straightforward process. The purpose of this is to raise the height of the inner part of the board that is not covered by the turn-ins to the same as that of the turn-ins. You measure and cut pieces of thin card (I use Bristol board), making them just slightly smaller than the area you wish to fill. I usually step it back just a little from the spine edge. For this thickness of leather I used two layers of Bristol board to bring it up to the right height. You must be sure to have the grain of the fill-in running from head to tail. 
          Now the cover is ready for fitting the text block. When positioning the text block it is very important to locate it centrally on the spine, both vertically and horizontally. I usually draw guide lines on the flesh side of the leather as my eyesight is poor and I don't like to leave it to chance. I also draw lines to indicate the positions of the slips, and make slits through the spine on each side, one for the slip to go outside, and one for it to come back in. When I'm satisfied the slips are in the correct position, I trim them all to the same length and cut each end into a point to facilitate its passage through the leather. I lace the slips through and pull the text block into place. The slips are about 18 mm (just over half an inch)  long at this point. 
For this binding, to accommodate the depth of the vellum slips, I mark their position on the fill-in and using a sharp blade cut along the pencil lines and remove as much of the fill-in material that is underneath the slips to the depth of the vellum so that when the slips are glued in they are the same height as the fill-in.
          Obviously you have to try it as you go along to ensure you remove just the right amount. Then glue in the slips and bone down, dry under weight, book open flat. I then tear a small piece of Japanese tissue to cover each slip before putting down the endpapers. This last tissue layer ensures that the slips are not visible under the endpapers. 
           You may think that there are a lot of fiddly little extra steps. As you may have gathered, I like the binding to be smooth and tactile, to feel as good as it looks. When you go to the trouble of buying good quality papers and leather it seems only right to treat them well. Here are another couple of views of this book. I love Leonardo's drawings and the music of 'Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine' and have enjoyed every aspect of making this book. I always learn so much.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Covering Leonardo Part IV

          Oh so long ago, last year in fact, I promised to show fitting the ribbon ties and lining the flap extension of the binding of Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine. I had forgotten to take photos, dear reader, and so this post has had to wait until I got to that stage again with more bindings. So here goes.

          After the edges are turned in, corners made, flap blind-tooled and title blocked, the ribbon ties are fitted. On the left (top) board I had previously removed a thin layer of the board 8mm x 8mm to allow the ribbon to sit in. (The ribbon is 8mm wide, as is the turn-in. Adjust the size to whatever ribbon or tie you use.) When turning in this edge, this part of the turn-in is left free. A slit the width of the ribbon is made vertically in the leather of the turn-in and the ribbon threaded through. One end of the ribbon sits in the 8mm square well, and is glued in place with PVA, with the turn-in glued on top of it, being careful that the PVA does not ooze out and stain the ribbon or the leather. The ribbon for the back board, shown on the right above, is threaded through a similar slit in the flap, before the flap is lined. Note the guide lines, and measure the position of both slits carefully so that when the boards come together the ribbons are positioned exactly opposite each other and the ribbon is in the vertical centre of the flap. I position the flap slit about 1 mm from the edge of the board, which seems to work well. The ribbon is glued down onto the inside edge of the book board and will be covered by the lining leather.

         Before applying the lining, the edge of the back board that would normally be covered by the turn-in, where the ribbon is glued, must be built up with a thin piece of card or Bristol board each side of the end of ribbon to bring it up so that when the lining is in place the lining plus card is the same thickness as the rest of the turn-ins, and the end of the ribbon sits roughly level with the strip of card.
          The leather for lining the flap should be pared thin and I use a Brockman parer for this, as shown above. The Brockman parer is very useful for paring small strips of leather for this sort of application, or for title labels etc. You could also use a knife or a spokeshave to do the same job. The lining leather needs to be thin because otherwise the flap would be stiff and a bit clumsy. The function of the lining is to tidy up and finish off the appearance of the flap and secure the ribbon tie, it does not need to have tensile strength.
          For the lining I apply adhesive to the flap, and position the lining on top of it with enough leather to cover the strip of card, so that when it is trimmed to size, that edge is the same width as the turn-ins and the lining completely covers the end of the ribbon and the card. After boning lightly in place I trim the superfluous lining material with a sharp blade so it fits neatly and all the edges are flush.
          The inside covers are now ready to be filled with card flush with the turn-ins, so that all is level, and the end-papers go down onto a flat surface. In my next post I'll show how this should look and how the text-block is fitted with the vellum slips. Incidentally, you can also see that when I turned in the top and lower edges at the spine, I left a little puff of air at the edge, to serve as a little headcap.