Historic Book Structures for Conservators.
The Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.
July 1-31, 2015.
This month long course is designed to refine bookbinding bench skills and explore historic book structures in the context of the conservation of books as historic artifacts. It will be held at The Winterthur <http://www.winterthur.org>, a museum, garden and library consisting of 1,000 acres of rolling meadows, gardens and woodlands. The focus will be on books bound in-boards from the 16th through 19th centuries. Readings in bookbinding history, researching book structures and creating models of historic structures are the basis of the course. Class presentations, several written essays and an independent project are required. This course is intended for pre-program through mid-career participants who are passionate about book conservation. Students will receive a full scholarship for tuition and can live on the the grounds of the Winterthur for nominal charge. Class size is limited. Application requirements include a personal statement on the relevance of this class to your work and career, a portfolio of bookbinding or book conservation treatments that exhibits attention to detail, and a recommendation from a professional in the conservation or preservation field. International applications are encouraged. Students will have to supply their own hand tools, pay travel expenses, food, and a materials fee. Students will have 24/7 access to the workshop space and an excellent conservation literature library. Information on how to apply at: http://jeffpeachey.com/2015/01/21/historic-structures-2015/
LATE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY FRENCH BINDING STRUCTURE
Apart from the French Revolution, one of the most exciting aspects of late 18th C. French culture is the existence of two full-length bookbinding manuals. This four-day workshop will focus on reconstructing a typical full calf French structure of this time period, by comparing and contrasting the descriptions in these manuals and examining extant bindings. In some respects, this structure is the end of 1,200 years of utilitarian leather binding— 50 years later the cloth case begins to predominate. This class is a hands-on explication of a written text. Some of the interesting features of this book include: sewing on thin single or double cords, edges trimmed with a plough in-boards and colored with vermillion, single or double core endbands, vellum transverse spine liners and “marbled” leather decoration. Reproductions of 18thC. French tools, constructed from plates in Diderot’s Encylopedie (1751-1780) will be available for experimentation. Participants will learn to use and maintain a plough, and become fluent in translating written descriptions of bookbinding into the construction of a model. Extensive notations (in English) on Gauffecourt’s Traite de la Relieure des Livres (1763) and Dudin’s L’Art du Relieur-doreur de Livres (1772) will be provided. Basic bookbinding skills are a prerequisite.
Thanks to Liz Dube, Conservator at Notre Dame, there are many images from this class taught in April 2009 for the NY Chapter of the Guild of Bookworkers here. She also wrote her impressions of the class here.
Brenna Campbell wrote a review of this class for theNY Chapter of the Guild of Bookworkers.
Student work from the Scrub Oak Bindery, Salt Lake City in 2007.
Student work from PBI, 2010.
This workshop focuses on a somewhat neglected book structure, boards bindings. This class begins with examining binding structures from the late 18th century, and places boards bindings in historic and economic context. From about 1780-1830, in America, this was the most common style of binding, apart from a plain calf trade binding. It marked a departure from previous styles in its combining less expensive covering material (paper) with a laced on, or in some cases a boards that are adhered to a wastesheet, though both are covered on the book. The covering techniques are similar to leather binding. Millboard shears will be used to trim the boards, and students will have a choice of sewing on raised cords or sawn-in, with two-on sewing. We will also examine the pros and cons of why this is usually considered a “temporary” binding structure, and how it relates to the three piece adhesive case. This is a great workshop for beginners who want to be introduced to historic binding structures. A Powerpoint presentation will illustrate many styles of English and American boards bindings, as well as explore historic methods of production. One or two days.
CLOTH CASE BINDING IN THE 19th CENTURY
In some respects, this class picks up where the boards binding class ends, about 1830. Making a hardcover, cloth case binding is de rigueur in most introductory bookbinding classes. This two or three day workshop, however, will combine the praxis of making a case binding while placing it in historical context of 19th century machinery. By making a new case binding containing our textbook, as well as disbinding and documenting a machine made case binding, then recasing it, participants will gain hands on experience. Case binding will also be examined in historical context by reading excerpts from 19th century “how-to” books, other contemporary descriptions of binderies and tracing the development of bookbinding machinery through PowerPoint presentations. The early 19th century was a period of wild experimentation with case and proto-case structures and a number of examples of these will be available for examination. Participants will learn to use a sewing frame, plough and guillotine. Participants will complete one or two three piece cloth case bindings, and recase 2-3 books of their own choosing, and if time explore other materials and styles of case bindings. Production techniques for library circulating collections will also be addressed; in 1991-92 Peachey recased about 3,000 books in a University Library. For a bet, he once recased a book while blindfolded. Participants should bring basic bookbinding tools and one book for recasing. Some bookbinding experience is necessary–this workshop is an excellent introduction to one of the most ubiquitous book structures, as well as basic bookbinding skills—but it is also suitable for advanced students wishing a more in-depth examination of the historical context of this important book structure. Usually two days.
INTRODUCTION TO BOOKBINDING
This workshop introduces students interested in Book History to the material, technological and structural aspects of Bookbinding. A presentation will explicate the techniques, tools, and sequence of European binding for printed books, ca. 1450-1850. Models of key bookbindings will be provided for handling, examination and discussion. These include a 15th c. German wood board binding, an 18th c. French binding, a 19th c. Publishers’ boards binding, and a 19 c. cloth case binding. Students will make a book (folding, compressing, sewing on raised supports, lacing, etc.) in order to gain hands-on understanding of the techniques of bookbinding. No special equipment is necessary, this can be held in your classroom, 2-3 hours.
MAKING AND SHARPENING KNIVES: A RATIONAL APPROACH
This class is an intensive one to three day introduction to one of the most basic human tool making activities- making and keeping an edge tool sharp without the use of jigs. Participants will be provided the materials, instruction and equipment to make several knives of their choosing, and to sharpen any type of edge tool they bring with them. The specific tools of bookbinders will be examined: paring knives, lifting knives, scissors, hole punches, spokeshaves and board shear blades. A wide variety of sharpening systems will be available for comparison: water stones, ceramic stones, diamond stones, oil stones, natural stones, silicone carbide powder, aluminum oxide powder, diamond paste, abrasive papers and stropping compounds. Some basic principals of tool steels will be explained, and edge geometry investigated. Machines for shaping metal will also be used: stone grinders, belt grinders, belt sanders and the Tormek. The goal is to free participants from the plethora of misinformation and mystique that surrounds sharpening and to instill confidance in sharpening and resharpening bookbinding knives.
One day version: Sharpening from a factory grind, resharpening, knife maintence.
Two day version: The above and making two knives from scratch, either by hand or possibly on grinding machines.
Three day version: The above and spokeshave modification. Possible additional topics: handles, drilling, tapping, simple wood shaping, planes.
The New England Chapter of the Guild of Bookworkers review of this workshop. Review from ICON Conservation Newsletter, November 2010.
A DROP SPINE BOX WITH AN INTEGRAL CRADLE
The cloth covered drop spine (aka. Clamshell) box is the standard for protection of rare books. Having an integral cradle adds another level of preservation and presentation, making it ideal for artist books or even a suite of prints. This workshop focuses on learning traditional boxmaking skills—how to accurately and easily measure, cut, glue and assemble a drop spine box with an integral cradle. This construction method will emphasize the use of jigs and other non-numerical methods of measurement. The first day will be devoted to learning the basic techniques of working non-ferrous metals such as aluminum and brass. Using hand tools, basic shaping, filing, drilling, tapping, sawing and finishing will be taught in order to make permanent jigs. A box making triangle and trimming jigs will be constructed. Techniques for the efficient production of the same and different sized boxes will be taught. Participants will construct a one-piece cradle and box, which was invented by Peachey and announced in a blog post:http://jeffpeachey.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/drop-spine-box-with-an-integral-cradle/. If time permits the pros and cons of other models drop spine box with cradle constructions will be examined. Two or three days.
WOODEN BOOK BOARDS: THEIR CONSERVATION, HISTORIC CONSTRUCTION AND THE PRAXIS OF WORKING WOOD.
Until around 1500, most books were bound in wooden boards. Books with wooden boards lie somewhat outside the routine treatments book conservators are normally tasked with. Split, and splitting wood boards are a tremendous problem in many institutions–they put many other aspects of a binding, especially intact covering materials, at risk of further damage if not stabilized or otherwise treated. This five day master class will focus on the fundamentals of the treatment of wooden book boards: the basics of using hand tools to shape wood accurately, easily and efficiently; the making a sample set of woods commonly used for wood boards; the examining of historic techniques for fabrication; and the making a sample set of common treatments for split boards. Choosing, tuning, using, sharpening and maintaining woodworking tools will also be taught. Exploring some of the complexities of wood technology and how this impacts treatment, storage and handling options for conservation treatments will also be covered. No previous woodworking experience is necessary. Five days.
GOALS OF THE WORKSHOP
- Learn how to evaluate, use and maintain basic hand wood working tools.
- Construct a sample set of reference wood commonly encountered in historic book boards.
- Construct a specialized jig to plane thin wood boards.
- Reproduce historic board shapes, channels, tunnels, chamfering and learn to recognize the tools used to make them.
- Construct samples of currently used techniques to repair split and splitting boards, and discuss their applicability in various real world situations.
- Make one sample board from a log, by hand, to understand the historic hand technologies– using a maul, froe, and broad axe.
- Begin to appreciate some of the complexities of wood technology and how this impacts treatment, storage and handling options for real world books.
- Discuss in depth the results of a recent article by Alexis Hagadorn and Jeffrey S. Peachey “The use of parchment to reinforce split wooden bookboards, with preliminary observations into the effects of RH cycling on these repairs” Journal of the Institute of Conservation, Volume 33, Issue 1 March 2010 (pp 41 – 63)
- Consider storage, housing and display issues unique to wooden board bindings.
- Discuss treatment considerations based on documentation that participants supply.
BOARD REATTACHMENT: AN INTEGRATED APPROACH
Detached boards are the most common point of failure for the book structures. This workshop will give participants an overview of common types of board reattachment, as well as discussing their applicability for specific situations. Tissue repairs, sewing support reinforcement, rebacking, joint tacketing, board slotting and various combinations will be compared. Many of these approaches are outlined in the Book Conservation Catalog, Section 2, Chapter 4. Emphasis will be on reviewing the basic underlying book structure, how it fails, and how to repair it. These techniques are applicable to circulating collections book repair and rare book conservation. Mechanical and aesthetic dimentions will be examined. Examples of the various types of repairs will be available for examination and comparison. Often a large number of books can be examined and treatment options discussed. This workshop is an excellent way for institution purchasing a board slotting machine to begin to develop an integrated approach to detached boards, and for individuals to expand their range of treatment options. Various lengths (usually 2-5 days) custom designed for the needs of the participants or institution.
One to three day workshops are designed to provide an overview of the set-up, use, adjustment, and maintenance of the Peachey Board Slotting Machine. Longer workshops also include experimenting with various types of slotting, discussion of material selection, advanced board slotting structures, and more. One to three days.