New Tool: Deluxe Delrin Lifter

The Deluxe Delrin Lifter.

Most lifting tools are quite thin. Usually, this is great. But the thinness of the lifter results in a lack of control at the tip. In order to counteract this, I’ve come up with a very long wedge shape lifter that provides an an incredible amount of control for lifting, twisting, sliding, and prying. The straight cutting edge and rounded corners also aids precision manipulation.

This Deluxe Delrin lifter is designed for the lifting covering materials, backing removal, hinge removal, and tape removal. The cutting edge is flexible and so thin that the white delrin becomes translucent, a feature that could be useful in certain treatments. Delrin has a very low coefficient of friction, close to Teflon. The handle is hand carved out of a bar of Delrin .75 inch thick and an inch wide. The length gradually tapers, and the weight gives this precision tool a solid heft and a tremendous amount of control.

A must for paper, book, photographic, and other conservators and restorers. The length varies between 8 – 10 inches, since it is difficult for me to get a sharp, translucent, and flexible edge. They tend to get shorter and shorter as I work on them! If the overall length is critical to you, send me a note and I will let you know what is in stock.

Between 8 — 10 x 1 x .75 (thickness at the handle) inches. Tapered gradually along the length. The cutting edge is straight with rounded edges, to facilitate twisting and prying. A basic kit for maintaining the edge with instructions is included.

The Deluxe Delrin Lifter $95.00

The Deluxe Delrin Lifter.

FREE ONLINE EVENT: Cary Summer Research Fellowship Roundtable, December 15, 12-1 ET

Image courtesy The Cary Graphic Arts Collection, RIT, 2020.

If the idea of spending a month at the Cary Graphic Arts Collection of Rochester Institute of Technology — home to the incomparable Bernard C. Middleton Collection of Books on Bookbinding — quickens your pulse and makes your hands sweat, first you should wash your hands before even thinking about handling these rare materials.

Then, you should find out more about a fellowship opportunity during this upcoming roundtable discussion. I’ll briefly discuss Edward Walker’s The Art of Book-Binding…, 1850.

Each summer, the Cary Graphic Arts Collection hosts a scholar for a one-month summer research fellowship. Join us to learn more about this unique research opportunity as applications are due on January 15th. Curator Steven Galbraith will provide information and join former Cary Fellows Dori Griffin, Jeff Peachey, Shani Avni, and Robert Gordon-Fogelson for a casual discussion, who will share some of their experiences and exciting discoveries.

December 15, 2020, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm ET. Zoom

Register here at least 24 hours in advance. Open to all.

When did Guillotines for Bookbinding Start?

1834 Patent Model of a “Paper Trimmer”. https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/object-groups/patent-models-graphic-arts?page=1

Here is another gem from the Smithsonian Graphic Arts Model Collection, a very early — though not the first — guillotine for books or paper. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the US Patent Office in 1836, so this model is the only remaining record. Visually, it looks much more like the neck cutting variety rather than ones for book or paper cutting. The massive blade operates by gravity rather than a lever or flywheel; again, like the non-book styles. Similar to all the early guillotines is that the blade operates straight up and down.

It’s always a dangerous game to cite the earliest book you have seen that contains this or that evidence, since it often gets superseded. Nevertheless, the earliest book I have seen that contains incontrovertible guillotine marks (thanks to a very damaged blade) is this Harper’s publisher’s cloth binding from 1834 of “The Works of Mrs. Sherwood”. The machine had a clamp and operated straight up and down. The curvature to the marks resulted from tightly clamping and distorting the unbeaten bookblock when cutting, a feature which the patent model above lacks, and when it is released it springs back into its resting shape.

If you have earlier evidence let me know!