Suave Mechanicals Volume 2 – Just Published

Cathleen A. Baker, founder of The Legacy Press, has just published Volume 2 of Suave Mechanicals, Edited by Julia Miller.  I had a chance to read an early version of Jim Croft’s contribution, and it is packed full of information derived from a lifetime of working with wood and books, all presented in the unique Croftian style.  I’m looking forward to reading the entire book, and just purchased it through the Chicago Distribution Center. And if you don’t have Volume 1, you are missing my own contribution, “Beating, Rolling and Pressing: The Compression of Signatures in Bookbinding Prior to Sewing”  Buy them both and save on shipping!

VOLUME 2 INCLUDES:

Cathleen A. Baker   •  Examination and Image-Capturing Techniques

Thomas E. Conroy   •  Binding at Midcentury: The Rivers of America Competition of 1946

Thomas E. Conroy   •  Bio-Bibliographical List of Individual Bookbinders (on DVD)

Jim Croft    •  Finding Suitable Wood for Book Boards and Related Considerations (also on DVD)

Julia Miller   •  Puzzle Me This: Early Binding Fragments in the Papyrology Collection of the University of Michigan Library (additional images on DVD)

Rosa Scobey Moore   •  Finding Identity on the Endpapers: Folk Traditions of Writing and Drawing in Books

Pamela J. Spitzmueller   •  A Visual Dictionary of Traditional Long- and Linkstitch Bookbinding Terminology

 

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Larger version of this advertisement: Suave Mechanicals Vol 2.  Please circulate.

Bone Folders: Our Nearest and Dearest Friend

John Farleigh, in a chapter about Sidney Cockerell from his book The Creative Craftsman, gives a particularly observant account of the relationship between a book binder and a bone folder.

“Another man is at work putting down a leather joint on the inside of a bound book, using a folder with quick, skillful movements reminiscent of the grooming of a horse.  The folder, a small ivory instrument that has to the ordinary eye the appearance of a paper-knife, is in fact a most important tool to the binder. Its shape is fashioned with great care and according to the habits of the craftsman himself. Every facet of its surface, every curve and subtlety of its edge, is known and used for a purpose, and no craftsman will readily part with this tool. This particular craftsman tells us, as he would talk of the loss of his nearest and dearest friend, that he has just broken his folder—an extra thick piece of vellum needing rather more pressure than usual found a weakness in the ivory—and we are shown the sad remains”

The finest bone folders on earth are being made today by Jim Croft, pictured below.  He processes wild deer and elk bones with his teeth and hands.  He also offers intensive workshops on making books from raw materials: toolmaking, processing fiber, papermaking, and wooden board binding with clasps. Below he is wearing his signature bone folder vest.  Check out his website, traditionalhand.com, or email him to purchase raw or finished folders: traditionalhand AT gmail.com

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John Farleigh  The Creative Craftsman (London: G Bell and Sons, 1950) 92.