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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's amazing especially when we see your fingers and actually realise the size of the book! Craftsmanship!