Nine years ago I designed a new style of cradle box, and it is rewarding to see the idea picked up by others. Below is recent one I made is for this stunning early 20th century French fine binding. The cradle also supports the slip-case chemise which is quite fragile. The slipcase itself is missing, or maybe it never had one.
For large, heavy books there are a couple of ways to beef up a regular drop-spine box.
Like most people, I usually make them with double walls.
I also make a modified inner tray, so that both hands can lift the book when removing it. The book this is for is around 19 x 15 inches, and quite heavy.
For even larger books, a lift off lid is a good idea, so the box doesn’t take up so much table space when open.
Since this book will be stored flat, on a metal shelf, and the client intends to read it once a week, there is a a slide off bottom piece to wear out. Even a durable cloth, like this canapetta, can wear quite quickly when slid on and off the shelf, there is an example here. It is adhered by friction, and when it wears through the client can mail it back for a new one, much cheaper than a new box.
Dwight Primano, a NYC based photographer and I designed this presentation box for a sequence of photographs titled “ken”. Since the images had a specific sequence, and alternated horizontal and vertical format, we decided on a box with a lift off lid and small squares in each of the corners to prevent the images from shifting. There are cut out areas for finger access on the top and sides. The image size is slightly smaller than the width of the paper, so all the images remain hidden until the top one is lifted off. The box is roughly 14 inches in height, square and covered with canapetta book cloth. A new tool, the 25 degree flexible mini knife proved very useful for paring down a ridge between the complex cut outs on the corners and bottom lining cloth.
It’s always fun to collaborate on a project that is somewhat unusual like this one. Dwight also teaches conservation documentation for The Institute for Fine Arts, as well as a great weekend workshop version covering some of the basics, which I took a couple of years ago. The top image looks like a woodcut, but it is a photograph of a kite lying on the grass. There are a few copies of this series for sale, contact him for details.