Category Archives: book boxes

Drop Spine Cradle Boxes

Nine years ago I designed a new style of cradle box, and it is rewarding to see the idea picked up by others. Below is recent one I made is for this stunning early 20th century French fine binding.  The cradle also supports the slip-case chemise which is quite fragile. The slipcase itself is missing, or maybe it never had one.

French fine binding in a cradle box. Private Collection.

Some other examples from around the web:

A variant from Trinity College, Dublin.

Rehousing a fragile book of engravings at Princeton University.

Display and storage for an artist book from Karen Apps.

Three different types of cradle boxes on the AIC book conservation wiki.

A simpler version made out of folding board.

A group conservation project from Duke University, with some construction details. 

 

 

 

Miniature Bookbinding Tool Set

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Miniature set of bookbinding tools, 1/6th Scale.

The Miniature Bookbinding Tool set is once again available for sale. I took a couple of years off to rest up my muscles. Ironically, it takes more strength to hold these while grinding and filing, than normal sized ones. The tools are made 1/6th scale, i.e. the Delrin sharpening plate on the left is two inches long, not twelve. They are made from the same materials the larger ones are, but please don’t expect to actually use them, they are much too small to hold comfortably. If you want a knife to use to make miniature books, I recommend my Flexible Mini Knives, and the cutting area can be made narrow if you desire, just let me know. The Miniature Bookbinding Tool Set is for the miniature book enthusiasts (you know who you are) or a gift for the binder who has everything. Seventeen tools are included, l-r: a Delrin sharpening plate, Peachey style French knife, Flexible paring knife, bone folder, small Powell shaped lifting knife, heart shaped finishing tool, brass triangle, engineers square, bookbinder’s hammer, swiss style paring knife, pallet, dissection scalpel, large Powell shaped lifting knife, French paring knife, cord wrapped paste brush, English style paring knife, and a strop. Supplied in a cherry box.

Miniature Bookbinding Tool Set: $800.00

Order here.

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Elaine Nishizu, a bookbinder in Los Angles California, made this beautiful box to house a set of these tools. It is in the Guild of Book Workers California Chapter Member Exhibition, 2016. Elaine describes it: “The box structure has a reversible spine that folds back on itself like a Jacob’s ladder. It’s covered in Japanese paper and a French printed paper by Claude Braun. The box is lined with black ultra suede and has a magnetic closure.” Note: this box does not come with the tool set.

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Elaine Nishizu’s box to house the miniature tool set.

A Box for Oversize Books

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A drop-spine box for heavy and oversize books. The cut out areas on each side of the inner tray allow both hands to lift the book out.

For large, heavy books there are a couple of ways to beef up a regular drop-spine box.

Like most people, I usually make them with double walls.

I also make a modified inner tray, so that both hands can lift the book when removing it. The book this is for is around 19 x 15 inches, and quite heavy.

For even larger books, a lift off lid is a good idea, so the box doesn’t take up so much table space when open.

Since this book will be stored flat, on a metal shelf, and the client intends to read it once a week, there is a a slide off bottom piece to wear out.  Even a durable cloth, like this canapetta, can wear quite quickly when slid on and off the shelf, there is an example here. It is adhered by friction, and when it wears through the client can mail it back for a new one, much cheaper than a new box.

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The partially removed bottom piece. It slides off, but stays in place by hooking over the edge of the head and tail squares.

Box Making Weights

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Jeff Altepeter, the other bookbinder named Jeff that is obsessed professionally interested in bookbinding tools, is the Bookbinding Department Head at North Bennet Street School. Recently he has begun manufacturing box making weights, often referred to as “L” weights, though it seems angle weights would be more descriptive. Whatever you call them, they are really, really nice. Not only do they speed production and increase accurate corner wall miters — so there is less sanding — but because of their clamping pressure you end up with a stronger join.

Jeff explains that  “Tini Miura turned us onto the design [calling them “L” weights] years ago at the American Academy of Bookbinding and they used to be sold by Lucinda Carr of Jumping Bird/ Mesa Canyon Studios. When she lost interest in manufacturing them, I picked it up because my students here at NBSS fight over the sets I have in the classroom. They are useful when building the walls of boxes, measuring for boxes, and as nice single hand weights at about 7 pounds each.”

These are solid steel, precision machined on the inner faces and zinc plated. They are 2 inches square on the short ends, 4 inches on the long ones. Current cost is $160.00 for a set of two plus $25 shipping in the US. Up to two sets can ship at this price. Larger orders ship at cost.

Contact Jeff Altepeter to purchase:  jaltepet <AT> gmail <DOT> com

Call For Images: Historic, Artistic or Technically Innovative Book Boxes

Dudin boxAn Asian style box was considered important enough to be illustrated in René Martin Dudin’s L’Art du Relieur-Doreur de Livres, Paris, Saillant & Nyon, 1772. My collection.

I’m preparing a presentation to accompany a workshop about drop spine boxes that contain an integral cradle. To date, I am scheduled to teach this workshop at Columbia College (Chicago, May 23-25) and at the Focus on Bookarts Conference (Forest Grove, OR, June 25-27).

I’d like to include a variety of images of historic, artistic and technically innovative book boxes. I am interested in early boxes from the nineteenth century, like the solander or the moulded fire-resisting pull-off case. I would love to have a selection of artistic boxes that either through design or action enhance or comment on the book enclosed within. Images of technically inventive boxes are also welcome, such as those that protect unusually sized or shaped books, house remains of binding parts removed, or have an integral cradle. I also intend to write up some kind of summary in a blog post.

If anyone has images they willing to share, please send up to 3 digital images to me by March 17, 2013. Include: your name, how you want to be identified (links to your website, etc), the name of the work (or book housed within), dimensions, date. I’m not sure if I will be able to use all the images, though if I only get one submission….