Some items popular with book and paper conservators include: the modified 151 spokeshave for paring leather (top), 2-inch triangle and bookbinder’s pliers (middle), and (l – r) A2 leather Swiss style knife, 8 inch Delrin lifter, Delrin folder, Delrin hera, and the set of lifting knives.
Contact me to arrange a meeting, or look for me at a low stakes Blackjack table.
When sewing books or endbands, it is sometimes helpful to grip the needle with a pliers in order to position it or increase leverage. Standard pliers do not grip a needle securely, and the jaws are the wrong shape for these types of manipulations. Precise needle control is also essential in book conservation, for in-situ resewing of loose signatures, endband reinforcement, and various types of board reattachment. If you have ever had to pierce a parchment spine lining, you will likely understand the purpose of these pliers immediately. These pliers are also great for removing staples.
The Bookbinder’s Pliers have a small groove cut near the tip, which securely grip needle sizes from 24 to 12 gauge. (.020″ – .104″) Note that 18 and 15 gauge needles are most common in bookbinding, though conservators may need smaller sizes for specialized tasks.
The jaws are ground to .375″, which is wide enough to leverage and guide the needle through stubborn materials, but narrow enough to get close to the work. All edges of the pliers are rounded to prevent potential damage to the book and the user.
Made of stainless steel, this precision tool fits comfortably in the hand. The pliers have a box joint to apply even pressure. About 4.5″ long. You will wonder how you ever worked without these.
This week I am guest blogging on the The Book and Paper Gathering, a site which delivers conservation information in a light-hearted, easy-to-digest manor. A conservation magazine, rather than a peer reviewed journal. It is well worth spending some time reviewing their previous posts.
The Most Beautiful Tool in the World: A Japanese Burnisher
Exactly twice in my life I’ve seen a tool and immediately felt such a keen a desire to possess it that my secular observance of the eighth commandment was severely tested.
Drooling over Robert Minte’s collection of Japanese hera at the Bodelian Library in 2010 was the first time. They were so elegant, simple, beautiful — perfect tools, I thought. It was the longest flight of my life back to New York City, my fingers itching to make some for myself. Over time, I learned more about bamboo, shaping bamboo, and continue to keep making them today.