If you have never heard of a kaschtoir, you are not alone. The term is a portmanteau coined by Peter Verheyen. The kaschtoir is a backing tool; a combination of a German kaschiereisen and a French frottoir. More about the kaschiereisen here, and more about the frottoir here. This tool combines the most useful aspects of each.
The kaschiereisen end has small teeth, which help to move the sewn, rounded bookblock into to a backed position. The froittoir end has a gentle smooth curve, which also can help move a bookblock into position, in addition to smoothing out irregularities and trueing raised bands. Two for the price of one!
If you are tired of deforming your spine into double folds with a hammer, or deforming your fingers hand manipulating your spine into shape, this may be the tool for you. Fits comfortably in one or two hands. The stainless steel is safe for contact even with historic bookblocks. The edges are very comfortably rounded, and the froittoir end is polished to make clean up easy.
I reproduced the gentle curve on the Frottoir from examples in my historic collection. This tool is not a die meant to exactly shape a spine to its curvature. A gentle curve is much more useful for a range of round spine shapes, smoothing irregularities, smushing sewing threads, etc… . The teeth can be cleaned of adhesive with a stiff brush. This tool is quite heavy, and the weight allows you to easily persuade even hard modern paper into the shape you desire with little effort.
304 stainless steel. Approximately 6 x 2 x .5 inch (15 x 5 x 1.25cm). Weighs about 1 lb. 5 oz (600 grams).
I’d seen versions of tools like this fraying shield (sometimes called a fraying plate) for a couple of decades. Some are just a simple “V” cut into a pressing tin thickness piece of metal. Why bother, I thought? Who needs another specialized, single purpose tool for such a simple job? I’ve been fraying out the cords on scrap pieces of binders board or card stock just fine.
But recently Peter Verheyen engaged me to design and make one for him. He details some historic ones and has a video of him using this one in this blog post. I became intrigued by some of the subtleties of this simple tool. Once I had a prototype I liked, I had a familiar, nagging feeling. Why the hell didn’t I do this sooner? Even if you don’t buy this one, I urge you to make one for yourself and see!
The speed of fraying is quicker, and the quality of the resulting slips much better than using binders board or card stock. They are very even and it is easier to control how thin they get. This is due to fraying on a hard and flat surface, rather than an irregular surface that abrades. The thinness of the steel helps too, so that you can start fraying just next to where the cord exits the endsheet. The shield itself is made from an unhardened stainless steel, soft enough that it won’t damage your knife blade. Traditionally, though, the back of your knife is used. So far it has worked with all the different plys of linen cord I’ve tried, from 2 to 12. The stainless steel is also safe for contact with binding materials.
Making tools is not only engaging and fun, but entirely practical since the result is set of tools you can use daily. Book conservators, other conservators, bookbinders, technicians, artists and others will find this workshop valuable. Filing, scraping and polishing are meditative activities, no previous experience required. Working Delrin and bamboo is a great way to start toolmaking and we will make folders, lifting tools, microspatulas, hera, and creasing tools. Most of the skills and techniques taught are transferable to wood and bone toolmaking too. Fair warning: making your own tools is highly addictive!
Thankfully, the pandemic is subsiding in New York, but I originally created this workshop specifically to teach online with a kit, and it has worked well for the past four sessions, so I will keep it up for a while. So far 49 students from 7 countries have completed this workshop.
All aspects of making tools with delrin and bamboo will be discussed in detail: design considerations, cutting, filing, rough shaping, final shaping, and polishing. The workshop consists of two 3- hour synchronous zoom sessions with PPT’s, videos, discussion of handouts, demonstrations, Q&A chat sessions, and working together. Also included is one month access to web resources, PPTs and videos demonstrating key techniques.
The workshop includes a kit with enough materials to make nine tools with a retail value over $300. A set of hand tools is also included: a cherry bench hook, scraper, burnisher, a file for plastics, and a variety of sanding and polishing supplies. All you need is a stable work surface, a few common hand tools, and some time to work outside of class.
DATES: There will be three sessions: September 11 + 18, October 16 + 23, November 13 + 20
International participants need to contact me confirming they wish to attend, I will save a seat and send you an invoice enabling you to pay by credit card. I will hold the seat for 24 hours after I send the invoice. The cost is $440 Canada, $465 EU and other countries, and $490 Australia and New Zealand. This includes kit shipping. Up to 3 kits can ship in one box internationally, so if you place one order for 2 or 3 people there will be substantial shipping savings, with the second and third places costing $390.
A generous patron has offered a scholarship (worth $390 — $490) for the “Delrin and Bamboo Toolmaking Workshop”, to be held November 13 + 20, 2021. The award is intended for a book conservator, bookbinder, or technician new to the profession, with less than five years working experience, who is in need of financial assistance. Domestic and international applications are welcome.
To apply, contact me with the subject heading “Tool Making Scholarship Fall 2021”.
The application should consist of two paragraphs, the first explaining why this scholarship is necessary to the applicant, the second detailing how it would benefit the applicant’s work. Applications are due September 1, and the successful candidate notified September 7. Submission not adhering to this application process will not be considered, and unsuccessful candidates will not be notified.