Tag Archives: bookbinding workshops

Review of 18th Century French Bookbinding Workshop

Constant Lem, Book Conservator at the National Library of the Netherlands, reviewed my 18th century French Bookbinding Workshop from last summer, which I taught in the Netherlands. Constant studied Medieval History at the University of Amsterdam. In the 1980s and 1990s he worked as a bookbinder. Since 2004 he is a book conservator at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague (The National Library of the Netherlands). Constant is very interested in historic bookbinding manuals and has long been intrigued by the peculiarities of the special French tradition of leather binding.

Translation by Herre de Vries.

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The reconstruction of an eighteenth century leather ‘French’ binding with Jeff Peachey
Workshop organized by Restauratoren Nederland, May 2016
Constant Lem

Making models of historical binding structures is a source of knowledge about the old book. The best way to make such a model is by working from contemporary manuals. The oldest known sources have a Dutch origin: Beschrijvinghe des Boeckbinders Hantwerck [Description of the bookbinder’s handcraft] by Anshelmus Faust (1612) and Kort Onderweijs van het Boeckenbinden [A short instruction in the binding of books] by Dirc de Bray (1658). These manuals however are written in such a manner that they contain many unclarities to the modern reader. These can be somewhat clarified by repeated empathic reading and by studying the historical examples of the described bindings: historical bookbinding manuals are a wealthy source of knowledge about the old and rare book, but these bookbinding manuals only allow for a good and thorough understanding through the study of actual books.

The most fruitful recreation of an historical model from an historical manual can be done under the guidance of a tutor who has profound knowledge of the manual and who has come across many of its unclarities before, who has solved some, but is continuously open to solutions seen and understood by others, people who have also dug into the subject or people who are completely oblivious yet and can approach it in open-minded fashion.

This type of workshop is exactly what the American bookbinder, conservator and tool maker Jeff Peachey offered. The subject of the workshop was the type of tight-back full leather binding which has been employed so ubiquitously on books in eighteenth century France. The place of action was Wytze Fopma’s studio in the Frisian town of Wier, the Netherlands. It was fascinating and instructional from day 1 through to 5.

Working in the company of book conservators — professionals from library, archive or private practice,  and bookbinders  — to construct a tight-back full leather binding, with raised sewing supports and a flush joint was recreated following the eighteenth century French manuals by Dudin, de Gauffecourt, and the plates accompanying Diderot. During the course long forgotten, unused techniques were employed, like the beating of text block and boards with a 4 kilo hammer and trimming the edges using a plough. One not only understands the nature of the work of the bookbinders of let’s say 1750, but one also gains insight into how different materials and a different way of processing them results in a different book. The tactility of the book is remarkably different compared to the models made without the use of mock old materials and without resorting to those obsolete techniques. You understand why boards are being laced on prior to backing and trimming and what is the consequence of backing a book in-boards. You get to understand how the final result contains closely observable and for this binding type very characteristic, but detailed differences. Some of those are described explicitly in the manuals, others can be deduced from what can be seen manifold on the historical examples.

Jeff’s teaching method is different to what particularly modern bookbinders will be used to. A cover’s square for many a modern-day trained bookbinder should be exactly 3 and not 2.5 mm, and a 90 degree backing shoulder is 90 degrees, and that’s just the way it is. While Jeff knows his sources damn well and he knows what he is doing, he seldomly gave clear, complete and compulsory instructions. He was well aware of the incomplete, sometimes deficient descriptions in the manuals and invited us continuously to ask questions — without necessarily always being able to answer them — and to make remarks and attempt to clarify up to a point, unclear parts of the descriptions. This ‘open’ approach and the pre-final result — the bound and covered, but unfinished book — seemed to bewilder some of the participants,  probably used to clearer guidelines, more stringent instructions and straight lines. This bewilderment evaporated abruptly when the book underwent its final treatments and by applying a simple dotted-pattern surface decoration with iron gall ink and a finish of glaire and paste-wash it suddenly transformed into a historical binding quite convincingly. It suddenly looked all too familiar and many of its previous deficiencies seemed to have disappeared. In reality though they had contributed largely to the satisfying final result!

The point being that while making historical models you should avoid observing with the modern eye and from modern concepts. You should put aside — nearly impossible — all you know and can do, the result of two centuries of a bookbinding tradition constantly working more set and more straight, and to try and settle into the old knowledge, attitude and methods with an unencumbered mind and let it work from within you. With his experience and knowledge Jeff Peachey has given us access to that knowledge, learned how to interpret sources and to work according to methods of that period and as a result of that process has given us moments of great satisfaction.

 

A Hollow Question

Adding a hollow (aka. Oxford hollow, tube) is often used to repair books that originally had a hollow, which makes sense. What makes less sense is using it on books that originally had a natural hollow, like case bindings. It adds at least three layers of paper, and only adds the strength of one thickness of paper. Admittedly, a strong sheet of handmade paper can be incredibly strong. Adding a hollow can dramatically change the opening, sometimes in unexpected ways. Often other hinging options with airplane cotton, linen or stout tissue are preferable. Adding a hollow is best suited to a quick and fast repair of circulating collections, or on relatively recent bindings with strong covering cloth. There are times when it should not be used.

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The movement of the spine would not be significantly changed by the addition of a hollow, since the textblock hinges from the tip of the shoulder. Remember that he significant stiffing caused by the adhesive and paper of the hollow is not addressed here, it also changes the movement, and can be damaging to a fragile covering material or spine linings..

 

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The movement of the spine would be significantly changed by the addition of a hollow, since the textblock hinges from the base of the shoulder. The changes in movement can cause severe stresses to the covering material and spine lining, possibly resulting in creasing, tearing or even failure. Remember that the stiffing resulting from the hollow can also cause damage by significantly changing the movement. Because of the interaction of the case, spine linings and hinging points, cloth case bindings are sometimes more complex to successfully conserve than leather bindings.

 

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This was one of the complexities we investigated in the recent workshop I taught at the Georgia Archives in Atlanta October 24-28, “Cloth Case Bindings: Their History and Repair.”

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Georgia Archives Conservation Lab. Photo Kim Norman.

Click on the links to see a slide show of images from each day. Images courtesy Kim Norman, Preservation Manager and Conservator, Georgia Archives. Thanks for hosting, Kim!

Day 1: https://quik.gopro.com/v/PNwC9SDNeW/

Day 2: https://quik.gopro.com/v/5v0ARgYFEo/

Day 3: https://quik.gopro.com/v/0Akz24qveU/

Day 4: https://quik.gopro.com/v/1EWV9WiqcD/

Day 5: https://quik.gopro.com/v/hPB5y1FonH/

There is talk of scheduling a complementary workshop in October 2017 at the same venue, dealing with rebacking, board attachment and repair of 19th century leather bindings. This would include leather paring with English and French knives, spokeshaves and the Scharffix paring machine, as well as methods of consolidating and dying leather. Check this blog for more info as it becomes available.

The Scratches Don’t Lie and The Big Board: Impressions from Teaching in the Netherlands.

Earlier this summer, I spent a couple of throughly enjoyable weeks in the Netherlands, teaching two workshops through the auspices of Restauratoren Nederland, at the beautiful bindery of Wytze Fopma in Friesland. First there was a 3-day sharpening/ spokeshave modification class, a wadlopen and tour of Mennonite sites, then a 5-day 18th c. French binding class. It was all very, very good.

Each time I teach, I keep adding current research. I’ve taught versions of the sharpening class over thirty times, and the French at least a dozen. It sounds cliche, but I do learn something new each time.

This class, Constant Lem, book conservator at Koninklijke Bibliotheek, convinced me of the importance of the 180 degree shoulder that the French bindings often have.  I’d considered and worked on this, however working together we made progress on this historically unique(?) structural feature.

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The steel folder, which Ben Elbel calls “score!”.

Before the workshop, I visited Ben Elbel, of Elbel Libro, in Amsterdam. He has a large studio, is doing some very nice work, and has a board beveling machine that I plan to steal at some point. Ben gave me a nifty steel folder which he sells. It is a nice size for detailed work, fitting comfortably in the hand, well made, and is also useful for blind lines. It comes in an attractive die cut storage folder. Metal folders keep popping up every now and then in the history of bookbinding: the earliest I’ve seen was patented in 1889.

Below are images from the workshop.

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Examining a spokeshave blade while sharpening.  Photo copyright Anke van der Schaaf, 2015. All rights reserved. http://www.fopmawier.nl

One of the most important aspects in freehand sharpening involves looking at reflections and scratch patterns in the blade, in order to understand what you are doing and what needs to be done. The visual feedback lets you know how to alter your hand pressure or technique. The scratches don’t lie.

 

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Tallying up The Big Board.  Photo copyright Anke van der Schaaf, 2015. All rights reserved. http://www.fopmawier.nl

The Big Board is a learning tool I use in the French class to keep track of questions, deviations from historic practice, instructor mistakes, material differences, etc.  Whoever has the most observations wins a prize, in this case a small lifting knife. Often there are over 150 observations. This helps keep us aware of inaccuracies generalized from our modern craft training that can creep into the historic style we are trying to understand.

As invasive treatments continue to become more infrequent in book conservation, the type of knowledge gained from making historic models will help keep book conservators relevant (I hope!), by increasing our knowledge of how these books were originally made.  Conservation as interpretation?

 

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Beating a textblock before sewing. Photo copyright Anke van der Schaaf, 2015. All rights reserved. http://www.fopmawier.nl

Not only did we have a custom made beating hammer, but we borrowed an anvil from the Blacksmith. A wonderfully solid substitute for a beating stone!

 

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Wytze’s large standing press. He said it took nine people to tilt it back upright after it was brought in through the door. A huge blocking press is on the left.  Come to think of it, EVERYTHING in the bindery was super heavy duty. My photo.

Wytze has the most massive operational standing press I’ve ever seen. He mentioned that it is the largest in Holland. He is operating the worm drive. Once the center screw is tightened as much as possible, to generate even more pressure, the drive can crank the main press screw another turn or so. The drive can be easily disengaged to quickly raise or lower the press. As a demonstration, he pressed some of our textblock paper so hard it sunk into the MDF pressing boards, creating a clamshell. It had little to do with the class, but was too impressive not to mention.

 

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Some of the class at work. Photo copyright Natasha Herman. http://www.redbonebindery.com

 

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The finished books. Photo copyright Anke van der Schaaf, 2015. All rights reserved. http://www.fopmawier.nl

On the left is an 18th century skull the Wytze found, the finished books, an 18th century (?) French (Dutch?) beating hammer on the right, and in the back, the printed handouts for the workshop bound en-broche by Wytze and Herre. We started with the same tan calfskin; the color variations on the finished books resulted from varying applications of glair, paste wash, and warm burnishing. These are powerful and inert ways to control the color and surface sheen of leather without dyeing.

The skull and beating hammer literally and symbolically bookend this workshop: we were working with the head and the hand, using theory and praxis, to learn more about the nature of 18th c. French binding.

 

 

Upcoming Workshops in the Netherlands, 25 May — 4 June 2016

I’m really looking forward to these upcoming workshops.  The organizers are making a beating hammer so I don’t have to carry mine! Dutch hospitality! If you are considering traveling from North America, Iceland Air has reasonably priced flights to Amsterdam and you can arrange a layover Iceland if desired.

 

Two workshops by Jeff Peachey – 25 May – 4 June 2016

organised by Restauratoren Nederland, the Netherlands

Two specialized bookbinding and conservation workshops lead by American bookbinder, conservator and toolmaker Jeff Peachey. Jeff combines his research of eighteenth-century French leather bindings with his practical knowledge of conservation, bookbinding and toolmaking. He will be teaching these workshops at Boekbinderij FopmaWier, a professional bookbinding studio in the Frisian countryside. Surrounded by an enthusiastic group of international colleagues and hopefully bathed in a warm spring sun, these workshops promise to be the perfect working holiday!

Making and sharpening knives: a rational approach, and modifying a spokeshave

https://www.restauratoren.nl/agenda/workshop-jeff-peachey-1/

This workshop is an intensive three day introduction to one of the most basic human tool making activities – making and keeping an edge tool sharp without the use of jigs. This workshop will use 3M micro-finishing film, but the freehand techniques learned are applicable to water, oil, or diamond stones. Participants will be provided the materials, instruction and equipment to make several knives by stock reduction of their choosing, and to resharpen any type of edge tool they bring with them as time permits. The specific tools of bookbinders will be examined: paring knives, lifting knives, scissors, hole punches, spokeshaves and board shear blades. Tool steel, edge geometry and grit progression will be discussed. A Stanley 151 spokeshave will be modified for leather paring, and there will be time to learn how to use it. The goal of this workshop is to free participants from the plethora of misinformation and mystique that surrounds sharpening and to instill confidence in sharpening, maintaining and resharpening bookbinding knives and other edge tools.

Course: €375, Materials: €175 Dates: 25-27 May 2016

 

Late eighteenth century French binding structure

https://www.restauratoren.nl/agenda/workshop-jeff-peachey-2/

Apart from the French Revolution, one of the most exciting aspects of late 18th C. French culture is the existence of two full-length bookbinding manuals. This five-day workshop will focus on reconstructing a typical full calf French structure of this time period, by comparing and contrasting the descriptions in these manuals and examining extant bindings. In some respects, this structure is the end of 1,200 years of utilitarian leather binding —50 years later the cloth case begins to predominate. This class is a hands-on explication of a written text. Some of the interesting features of this book include: beating the paper, sewing 2-on on raised cords, beating pasteboards, trimming edges a plough in-boards, edge coloring with vermillion, sewn front-bead single paper core endbands, parchment transverse spine liners, edge paring calf, “marbling” the leather, and achieving various shades of brown without using leather dyes. Reproductions of 18th C. French tools, constructed from plates in Diderot’s Encylopedie (1751-1780) will be available for experimentation. Participants will learn to use and maintain a plough, and gain experience in translating written descriptions of bookbinding into the construction of a model. Extensive notations (in English) on Gauffecourt’s Traite de la Relieure des Livres (1763) and Dudin’s L’Art du Relieur-doreur de Livres (1772) will be provided. An overriding theme in this class is to interpret historic bookbinder’s techniques by reconstruction. Basic bookbinding skills are a prerequisite.

Course: €540 Materials: €100 Dates: 30 May — 3 June

Excursion

On Friday afternoon, June 3, the eighteenth-century French binding structure course will be followed by an excursion to the local archives and rare books library: Tresoar, Frysk Histoarysk en Letterkundich Sintrum. We will look at several examples of eighteenth-century bindings from this collection using our freshly gained knowledge.

Adress: Tresoar: Boterhoek 1, 8911 DH Leeuwarden. We will travel together in available cars.

How to get there: https://www.tresoar.nl/over/Pages/Route.aspx

The tutor, Jeff Peachey

Jeffrey S. Peachey is an independent book conservator and toolmaker. For more than 25 years, he has specialized in the conservation of books and paper artifacts for institutions and individuals as the owner of a New York City-based studio. He is Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation, has taught bookbinding workshops internationally, and was recently awarded a fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, Italy. He is the inventor of the Peachey Board Slotting Machine, used in conservation labs around the world. His most recent publication is “Beating, Rolling and Pressing: The Compression of Signatures in Bookbinding Prior to Sewing” published in Suave Mechanicals: Essays in the History of Bookbinding, Volume 1. More information at: http://jeffpeachey.com

Registration

Please register by emailing: herre66@gmx.net

Please indicate which workshops you would like to register for.

The location

The picturesque village of Wier is situated in the north-west of the northern province of Friesland. In 2009, FopmaWier bookbindery was established in this village of 200 inhabitants. Wytze Fopma, owner and director, specializes in unique graphic productions, mostly in limited editions, for designers, artists, printers, editors, photographers and collectors. Wytze welcomes you into his studio to experience the quiet and space of the Frisian countryside during the most beautiful time of year. What better way to welcome in the spring of 2016?

Boekbinderij FopmaWier, Tjerkepaed 16, 9043 VM Wier, www.fopmawier.nl. Contact person is Wytze Fopma: info@fopmawier.nl

The nearest train station is Leeuwarden. From here, bus 71 leaves for Wier 1-2 times per hour. You can also be collected at the train station if you inform us in advance of your arrival.

Accommodation

The small campsite “De Brinkhoeve” is located within a two-minute walk from FopmaWier bookbindery. Here you can pitch your tent on an open field with view of the village’s historic church. Two recently renovated trailer homes and a cabin are also available at very affordable prices (€10-25,- per person, per night). Booking can be done directly: http://www.debrinkhoeve.com/ or by phone: 0031 (0)518-462287. We strongly advise you not wait too long and please tell the owners you are coming for the workshops at Wytze’s studio. If you would like to share a cabin or trailer with other participants, please advise us and we will get you in touch with other interested participants.

If the campsite is not what you are looking for and you don’t mind missing out the evening social contact with colleagues, please contact us for further information on alternative accommodation in the vicinity of Wier.

Meals

During the day, coffee, tea and lunch (Dutch bread with a variety of toppings) will be provided. This is included in the course costs. Breakfast, dinner and lunch during the excursion are at the participants’ own expense. We are happily to recommend good restaurants, supermarkets and grocery shops in the neighbourhood. It is also possible to cook at De Brinkhoeve, a good occasion to enjoy the end of an inspiring course day together with colleagues.


Organisers

Herre de Vries, contact person: herre66@gmx.net

Natasha Herman,

Wytze Fopma.

Historic Book Structures for Conservators 2015: One month, seventy-two books, seven students, and one tired instructor

historic structures class 2015

L-R: Jeff Peachey, Emilie Kracen, Catherine Stephens, Fionnuala Gerrity, Katherine Le, Diana Avelar Pires, Amber Hares, Valeria Kremser

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Cat Stevens spokeshaving an alum tawed skin. You need a very sharp spokeshave, modified for leather work, to tame this abrasive material.

 

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Katherine Le ploughing on a vintage Hickock “Amateur or Small Size” press and plough. Oddly, in a catalog ca. 1940 the regular and small size are the same price. I would be happy to trade my small one for a regular size!

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Fionnuala Gerrity using a low angle block plane to shape her wooden boards. She is using a  Lee Valley Veritas Apron Plane, which is a great value at less than $100.

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A model of a ca. 1500 Italian long stitch book made with guest Instructor Maria Fredericks.

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Elissa O’Loughlin giving a demonstration of semi-traditional Japanese paste making. Wait, how did she get into this class?!?

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Val Kresmer carving some channels in her wood boards. In front of her are some of the bookbinding, woodworking and metalworking tools for the class.

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Amber Hares sewing a primary end band with a back bead on a 16th C. German model. This will later be covered with a secondary two color front bead.

 

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Diana Avalar Pires cutting through pasteboards with a reproduction 18th C. pointe for her full calf French model.

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Emilie Kracen fraying and pointing slips.

Upcoming 2014 Workshops and The Treatment of a Nuremberg Chronicle

April 26, 2014. Delaware Valley Chapter of the Guild of Bookworkers. Philadelphia.  One day Sharpening/ Knifemaking workshop.

July 14 – August 15, 2014. Historic Book Structures for Conservators. Boston. This five-week class meets Monday – Friday each week at the Bookbinding Department of North Bennet Street School. Field trips are scheduled for some Fridays, and other Fridays will be open lab days. The course is designed to further develop basic bookbinding bench skills and to explore historic book structures in the context of the conservation of books as historic artifacts. Readings, research on book structures and bookbinding history, and creating models of historic structures are the basis of the course. Class presentations, short essays, a midterm and possible online publishing are required. The course is for students who are serious about bookbinding history and who are interested in further exploring conservation of books as cultural heritage. Class size is limited. Admission to the class is determined by application. Application requirements include a personal statement on the role of the class in your work, a portfolio of three-dimensional studio work that exhibits fine detail, and a recommendation (from a professional in the conservation or preservation field if possible). Students will need to supply their own hand tools. For workshop registration contact North Bennet Street School.

I’m already getting excited about this class.  Since it is five weeks long, we will be able to dive in deep. Additionally, it will be a joy to teach at the bookbinding department of North Bennett Street School, which I feel is one of the best equipped bookbinding teaching facilities in the world. The syllabus is not set in stone yet, but is largely based what Chela Metzger did for the past two years. The class will move backwards through book history from now to the beginning of print. A 20th century library binding, boards binding, a half leather binding, late 18th century French binding, a limp vellum structure, early 17th c. English trade binding and a late gothic German wood boards tawed structure are all likely canidates. This class will be taught at a graduate level, and I would love to have participants with a range of backgrounds: pre-program, grad students, technicians with professional ambitions, and mid-career conservators who want to get their hands off the keyboard and back into some books.

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Lou Di Gennaro, Special Collections Conservator in the Barbara Goldsmith Book & Paper Conservation Laboratory at New York University’s Bobst Library has an informative blog post titled “Mending Split Wooden Boards on a 16th Century Binding of the Nuremberg Chronicle”.

I consulted with Lou on the project, and the treatment we designed was based a paper Alexis Hagadorn and I wrote, “The Use of Parchment to Reinforce Split Wooden Bookboards, with Preliminary Observations into the Effects of RH Cycling on these Repairs”,  Journal of the Institute of Conservation 33 (2010) pp. 41- 63.

Lou’s post:

“Much has already been written about the Liber Chronicarum better known to English speakers as the Nuremberg Chronicle. A simple Google search will bring up a myriad of information about the book’s history, production and distribution, as well as many images of the beautiful woodcuts. Printed in 1493, the Nuremberg Chronicle is a history of the world beginning with the Book of Genesis and continuing through biblical and Roman history to the early 1490s, detailing a number of important western cities. The book was one of the most heavily illustrated of its time and one of the first to successfully integrate illustrations….” Read the rest

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Image courtesy Barbara Goldsmith Book & Paper Conservation Laboratory, Bobst Library, New York University.

18th c. French Bookbinding With Jeff Peachey

(Please welcome guest blogger Liz Dube, Conservator for the University of Notre Dame Libraries.  She kindly agreed to write up some impressions from the workshop and share some images.  Jeff)

I ventured to New York City in April to take part in a rare and enlightening reenactment of 18th c. French bookbinding. During this four-day workshop organized by the New York Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers, our group of about a dozen bookbinders tucked ourselves away in the Conservation Lab of the New York Academy of Medicine and under the direction of Jeff Peachey, determined to bind books in the style of 18th c. France. 

The effort was informed by two contemporaneous bookbinding manuals: Traite de la Relieure des Livres (1762/63) by Jean-Vincent Capronnier Gauffecort and L’art du Relieur de Livres (1772) by Rene Martin Dudin. Jeff provided the group with packets that included organized copies of the manuals, along with some of his own notes. Samples of period bindings were inspected and discussed

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FIGURE ONE.  Examining the 18th c. artifacts

and Jeff characterized the bookbinding industry of the time. We learned that in 1776, 75% of the bookbinders in Paris were located on just one block within the University community. Bookbinders and printers at that time were associated with guilds that regulated the trade, so they were no doubt a tight-knit and highly regulated community. Jeff underscored that this pre-industrial era period was the end of the hand-bound book era, and how fortunate we are to have two manuals documenting how the work was performed in France at this time.

The manuals had to be taken in context, however. Dudin’s book was not written for contemporary or would-be bookbinders but rather for the book-buying public, to educate readers on the details of a properly bound book so they could avoid being cheated by an unscrupulous bookbinder. That said, Dudin’s wasn’t just a casual survey of “what to look for” in a bound book. Jeff notes in our course packet that Dudin devotes “12 (!) pages and 7 plates” to folding, and that, even if Dudin exaggerated, the extent of paper beating that occurred in this period appears to have been, according to current bookbinding sensibilities, rather extreme: 

“…judging from these descriptions…they were beating these books a lot; beating the sheets before folding, pressing after folding, beating after pressing, and pressing a second time … The boards are beaten before they are attached, and after covering. And as a final step, before returning the book to its owner, Dudin has us beat the four inside corners!” 

With this in mind, we folded the paper into sections and wielded hammers, proceeding to pound paper and raise such a racket that other workers in the serene house of research were drawn follow the noise to find its source, and to inquire whether we had any aspirin. We beat until we were sore and could no longer pick up a hammer.

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FIGURE TWO:  Beating.

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FIGURE THREE: More Beating.

 Alas, in the end, we concluded that our best efforts still would not have satisfied Dudin! 

But we were there to make books, not to pulverize paper, so we had to move on. Lovely 18th c. marbled paper made by Iris Nevins was employed for the endsheets. Kerfs were sawn into the spine and our textblocks were sewn on cords.

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FIGURE FOUR:  Sewing on cords. 

Various sewing frames and a variety of sewing keys were experimented with, including Jeff’s small/collapsible travel sewing frame. While not mentioned in Dudin or Gauffecort, some even went for the ultimate simplicity of using nails as sewing keys, as documented in several later bookbinding manuals.

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FIGURE FIVE: Nail as a sewing key.

Pretty neat trick, that! Once the books were sewn, the cord laces were frayed and pasted, and the boards were prepared (again with the beating!) and laced on. Textblocks and board edges were then ploughed in-boards, using a prototype Peachey custom travel-sized plough.

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FIGURE SIX:  Jeff working up a sweat speed-ploughing.

Our super smooth textblock edges were then colored (red, of course), paneling (aka, adhering paper or parchment transverse spine linings) was performed, and endbands were sewn on.

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FIGURE SEVEN:  Sewing endbands

The time had finally arrived for covering our books. Vegetable-tanned calf skin prepared by Richard E. Meyer & Sons was on hand for the task. But first, we were treated to a mini Peachey workshop on knives, spokeshaves, and knife honing, the completion of which found my knife was sharper than it’s ever been! For resharpening a knife, Jeff recommends pressure sensitive adhesive backed 3M microfinishing film mounted on a very smooth surface such as glass or marble, or—even better—strips of aluminum, the surface which was first hand lapped smooth. Jeff’s set was super light and travel friendly and worked really well—just add water and hone.

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FIGURE EIGHT:  Knife honing station, complete with bacon band-aids

To maintain his sharp edges, Jeff uses a strop made of horsebutt laminated to calf skin, both flesh side out.  The first stroping is on the horsebutt, which contains a .5 micron green honing compound, followed by a final polish on the naked calf skin. Jeff then demoed paring and covering-in (particularly impressing the group with his trick of paring all four edges of the leather in one swoop of the knife).

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FIGURE NINE: Jeff demonstrating leather covering

We then followed suit and tied up our books to dry a bit. They were then finished off with speckling (we passed on the traditional chemicals, instead opting for Golden Fluid Acrylics) followed by a couple of blind lines on the boards and spine. At the end of the four-day session, our group was very satisfied with the results of our labor! Thanks Jeff!

(Thanks back at you, Liz!)

There is another review of this workshop by Brenna Campbell on the NY Chapter of the Guild of Bookworkers website.