New Tool! Rectangular Baren

 

Around a year ago, I had a couple of really large boxes to make — around 22 x 30 inches — and quickly grew tired of holding my folder when smoothing the cloth. I tried using a printmakers baren, but the round shape felt awkward for bookbinding. Then a few weeks ago, while poking around an antique mall, I picked up an antique chalkboard eraser, found the ergonomics of it appealing, and realized with a Delrin sole and wood handle, a similar tool could be great for smoothing and adhering large pieces of paper and cloth to bookboard. The rectangular baren was born.

The size is comfortable to hold with one hand or two, and it is thick enough to hold without running your fingers into the work. Perfect for big projects, edition binding, paper conservation, or for anyone who finds gripping small folders difficult. The Delrin sole is non-marking,  .75” thick, has rounded edges, and there is a recessed finger gripping area. The tool has a pleasing heft. This first batch has apple wood handles, which are silky smooth. Approximately 6.5 x 2.5 x 1.75”.

Purchase the Rectangular Baren at Peachey Tools

 

 

 

500th Blog Post. A Look Back at the First One: Philosophy of Conservation

Eleven years ago when I started this blog. I didn’t have a clear idea of what it would become, I just wanted some kind of presence on the web. Over time it has become a place to investigate book history, advertise my book conservation business, examine some of my tool collection, promote my workshops, dip my toes into the philosophy of craft, and announce new bookbinding tools.

Two years ago, the tools moved to  Peachey Tools.  I use instagram for more image based sharing. The board slotting machine has a following among book conservators, my book conservation and tool businesses keep chugging along, and I do a fair amount of teaching.

Looking over my posts, they keep returning to four main topics: tools, books, craft, and conservation.

An unintended benefit of sustained blogging is how it feeds longer term writing projects: sometimes by immediate gratification, sometimes by regular practice, and sometimes by feedback from readers. Tom Conroy in particular deserves a thank you for his 52 comments, many of which contain new information, and several which exceed the word count of the original post!

Below is my first blog post — a mini-manifesto, really — my philosophy of conservation. Those who know me may be surprised I’m not as pessimistic concerning the future of book conservation as I was in 2008. The quality and sensitivity of book conservation has increased in the past 11 years, at least from what I see of it, and  book conservation education continues to evolve with change as society and the uses and values of books change. But there is still much work to do. Onward!

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Philosophy of Conservation (originally published  17 April 2008)

It was almost 100 years ago that Douglas Cockerell wrote, “Generally speaking, it is desirable that the characteristics of an old book should be preserved… It is far more pleasant to see an old book in a patched contemporary binding, than smug and tidy in the most immaculate modern cover.”   Today, I am disheartened to find what little has changed; rows and rows of rebound or insensitively rebacked volumes, giving no hint of their original nature.  All to often, books and the information they contain are needlessly  destroyed by inappropriate or outdated techniques.

As microfilming, photocopying, and digital methods of storing and transmitting conceptual information become more and more prevalent, I feel the intrinsic aspects of books and paper artifacts: their physical construction, material content, aesthetics, and tactile qualities, are irreplaceable and will prove to be the most valuable.  These are the aspects I preserve for future generations.

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Bookbinding and the Care of Books Lyons and Burford,  p. 306

Microfiber. Horsebutt. Bluefin Tuna. Poinsettia.

 

Nothing quite sums up the Holiday season for me like a poinsettia and hunks of raw blue fin tuna. Stressed? Too much to do before the end of the year? Feeling overwhelmed? Me too. I coped yesterday by playing hooky and indulging in arguably the best chirashi deal in Manhattan at Yuba for $15. Yuba was founded by a couple of ex-Masa employees: $15 there would get you exactly 11 grains of rice.

Other coping mechanisms include buying stuff.

 

The Peachey Branded Microfiber Towels are in stock! A great stocking stuffer, or you could even make a stocking out of it. I made to logo by having a steel stamp made from my handwriting, then stamped it onto a piece of horsebutt, then had it dye sublimation printed onto the towel. Genuine Horsebutt Strops are always popular.

To be safe, order soon, although the post office estimates December 17 as the deadline.