A New Batch of Books, Part 2: Seven More

December 25, 2011


Above: The seven books from Saturday range from 7 x 9 inches (the two at the back) to 8.5 x 8.5 inches (two in the middle and one on the left lying down) to 7.5 x 7 inches (two in the front on the right). The front most has a lovely dark purple bookcloth, other dark cloth is a textured black. The two back books have 4 signatures each, of a very thick paper—Magnani's Annigoni Designo. All the other books have five or six signatures, some with the thick Annigoni, some with Gutenberg

Yesterday I mananged to finish seven of the remaining eleven books. That leaves me four more to do today, but I won't be binding until late this evening. The first order of business is to start tidying up things and watching the weather. With a bit of luck it will rise to 38 or 40 degrees and I'm hoping to get outside on the bicycle. Plenty of time for binding after that.

I ended up doing all of these books in one long batch and my fingers really revolted by the end of it (I'd poured out too much glue so I kept working). I've long used 140 lb. watercolor paper to make my decorative paper, but my fingers, cracked from cold weather and weary from computer keyboarding and bicycling (indoors and out), just told me yesterday that they don't ever want to use that paper on covers again. Now whimpers from my older students come back to haunt me. Hubris. 

Happily the bookbinding session was followed by the making of a pineapple upside down cake. I took it over to Dick's folks' to share with his sister's family. It went over really well, but then I've found that most foods that are 1/2 butter do.

PineappleCake2523Left: The pineapple upside down cake (from Dick's maternal grandmother's ancient Betty Crocker cookbook). Usually we have larger pecans with which to work, but people seemed to enjoy the many small ones. I was out of circular cardboard cake "platters" on which to flip the cake out of the cast-iron pan, hence the large aluminum foil covered cardboard. I long ago gave up trying to wrestle with a glass cake stand and a cast iron pan at the same time. I don't even use the cake stand any more as the cake never lasts.

Note: A word about Gutenberg. I was concerned I couldn't find it in Legion's list of products so I don't know what's up with that. But Talas has it (hence the link above). I have used both the 130 gsm and the 180 gsm for my visual journals. If I need lots of pages for a trip (or State Fair journal for instance) I'll go with the 130 gsm to fit more pages in a thinner more portable book. In general I prefer the 180 gsm for heavy mixed media use, including collage. My current take along journal is this 6 x 8 inch journal made with 180 gsm Gutenberg.

    • Christine F
    • December 26, 2011

    What do you do about cutting the book board? That’s something that keeps me reluctant to get into a binding project…

  1. Reply

    Christine, I purchased a large Boston cutter in 1998 or so because I found cutting by hand with a utility knife didn’t yield the results I wanted, and I couldn’t always be imposing on friends who had large cutters (Hey, mind if I come over and cut book board for 2 hours tonight?). It has lasted really, really well for the intervening years. It’s about 24 inches so I can put a 1/2 sheet of book board in there.

    I cut all the boards for my classes at MCBA on their equipment (since I’m getting the bookboard there and their equipment is so much larger and just better).

    And if I have a huge batch of the SAME size textblock (almost all the books in this batch of 20 were different sizes because they were saved from various paper teardowns that never got bound) I rent time at MCBA on their large cutter so that I can quickly cut everything to the same size. (Rental is very modest when you spread the cost out over all the books and I’m pretty fast.)

    This series of “systems” has worked pretty well up to this point but I noticed in cutting the boards for this last batch that the blade is not cutting cleanly any more. So I’m going to have to look into having it sharpened or if it’s just not a quality enough piece of equipment to do that I’m going to have to look into getting another cutter.

    There’s one for sale through NASCO (a catalog of supplies for teachers) that I quite like, but it’s a table model and has a hefty price tag that I can’t justify since I’m not doing the volume I used to.

    If an inexpensive cutter (even a smaller one, because you can do some cuts with utility knife and then fine tune on the smaller cutter) or even a moderately priced one is out of your budget range for a tool you might only use once a quarter (if you’re going to use it once a month or more you really need to look at the cost savings) you could get a Safetyedge by Rohdahle. It’s a very heavy ruler with a mat-no-slip base and a metal “wall” running down the center behind which you can keep your fingers!

    I find that cutting bookboard with that is pretty doable. It holds in place and protects me at the same time. I don’t get the crispness I get from a board shears because when I hand cut I always have to make at least two passes even with a new blade on the utility knife (use a heavy one) but it works.

    Good luck finding something that works for you. I know this is a hold up for lots of people and not everyone is literally a stone’s throw from a facility like MCBA like I am.

    • Karen
    • December 26, 2011

    ooooooooooooo that CAKE! That’s the best cake.

    • mo
    • December 26, 2011

    omg, that cake looks so moist and gooey, it practically pops right off the page! i bet it was delicious 😉

  2. Reply

    Mo, It was delicious! I feel as if I should make another one today because I only got a small piece. These cakes do not last long in Dick’s family!

  3. Reply

    Karen, weren’t we going to get together sometime soon? Whatever happened to those plans? Maybe we should just get together the two of us, and I’ll bring cake! I have some more pecans, cherries and another can of pineapple!

  4. Reply

    Roz, your journals are so great! I think I am drooling a little. I know, I know, I should go and bind my own. I just might. They may be soft cover, but handbound none the less!
    Can’t wait to see which one you choose to start in 2012!

  5. Reply

    Thanks Briana, I’m glad you like the look of them. I’m leaning very much to the one from the first day that has orange and blue splatters and some purple, with beige-ish bookcloth. We’ll see. I hope to finish my regular journal tomorrow at the zoo!

    I think softbound journals are great fun too! I actually find that they take more time, but maybe that’s because I always do some fussy involved stitch on the spines and can’t remember it and have to look up my notes.

    My hands are SO HAPPY TO NOT BE BINDING today!

    See you soon.

    • Heather
    • December 27, 2011

    I especially love the look of the one with the dark purple book cloth. Do you recall where you got the cloth? I am burning through my stash of journals again (at long last) so will surely need to make more in 2012.

    p.s. we should set up a date for you to sketch Becca to your heart’s content.

  6. Reply

    Heather, Yes, I do, because it is my favorite bookcloth in the world (ever). I bought 5 yards of it at MCBA’s shop. I can give you a swatch for you to show Flora so she knows which one you mean. They were going to use it for a winter book or some big project and so they were going to buy the minimum needed from their supplier and I tagged on my 5 yards of it. It has a little bit of a fleck of lighter threads as well so it has real depth in person.

    I don’t know what the minimum order is if they don’t already have a minimum order going, and know they don’t have any in the shop right now. If you do pursue it and find out how much they need to order maybe it is something we can organize a group buy for through the Collective as there are other folks in the group who bind their own books and maybe we can get enough people to buy a yard each—I’d buy some more.

    I am glad to hear that you are burning through your stash of journals! And I look forward to seeing you and Becca in the new year!!! Yes Please.

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