Sunday, June 05, 2011

Extreme Bookbinding

The third, and most intensive, class that I took at PBI was with John Townsend who is a bookbinder and conservator extrodinaire and operates Anonymous Bookbinder in upstate New York. In this class we made three books. Extreme bookbinding, because there was a lot to accomplish in a short time. We were folding and tearing, setting up the sewing frame with cords for one and tapes for another, we were paring leather and molding vellum, we were plouging textblocks, and we hammered and rounded, and on and on... We focused on structure, and I love structure.

My finished books...

First, the publisher's board binding. John had several examples of this kind of binding from its heyday - beginning in the mid 1700s - when the structure became widely used in English binderies. Key features of the binding: it is sewn on recessed cords, and two are laced into the boards and the others are cut; the textblock is left untrimmed; the boards were almost always covered with blue or grey paper; paper spine pasted directly to the spine of the textblock; endpapers are pasted down with the book lying open.

A couple of the publisher's board binding models made by our class...

Second, a type of German case binding, or Bradel binding, also from the mid 1700s. This structure uses a molded spine wrapper attached to cover boards to create a case. We made a variant of this traditional German case binding with vellum for the spine. Other features: textblock is trimmed on all 3 sides and often speckled; sewn onto tapes using a French link then the tapes are removed; sewn endpapers; paste paper or marbled paper typically used on the covers.

A couple of the German case binding models made by others in my class...

Third, we made a single section book a la T. Harrison's 1947 article in Paper and Print. This structure was really interesting because even with only a few pages, the result was a rounded and backed textblock - not easy to achieve with a single section. This structure was presented as a solution for library binderies when a few sheets need to be bound for the stacks, this binding will allow the slim volume a bit more substance so it doesn't get lost on the shelf. The model that I made has a textblock of only four folios (I barely finished this book, so thank you, Jean for helping me with the leather spine on this one after the class was finished!)

My single-section book...


More photos on Flickr

7 comments:

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing your class and books with us - I can just image you "extreme bookbinding" with glue and offcuts flying everywhere!

Lizzie said...

And not a Bungie-rope in sight!

Gosh, I do have a lot to learn! The class I went to was one day and we made One book, with a traditional English-style binding, sewn onto narrow tapes, with a soft-spine type of case binding. It was great, but I doubt if we could have accomplished more than this in the day (all were amateur binders anyway and many had never bound a book before, so I suppose one book was really enough!).

I would love to have the chance to go to some of the great classes you folks in BEST seem to attend. There are a few available in the UK, but I need time and money to go on them.. I think I will investigate and plan something for early in 2012.

Thanks for the inspiration and I love the results from your Extreme class!

Rhonda Miller said...

Thanks Michelle and Lizzie!

Lizzie, nope, no Bungie jumping, lol! One book in a one-day workshop makes sense - this was actually a 4-day class, and they were long days!

Amy Greenan said...

Rhonda, I have really enjoyed reading your accounts of the classes at PBI – especially for this one. All the notetaking you did paid off! :) I am glad to have this blog as a resource for the things we learned, if only to jog my memory for some of those pertinent details. Wonderful job!

Rhonda Miller said...

thanks Amy - it was a pleasure sharing a table with you!

.::Tuttie::. said...

I am going to make it a point to go next year! I found out too late this year. :( Too bad he is not teaching any classes as he is close enough to me.

btw I started making planners but they are very rudimentary. I want to start printing them with soy ink but don't know how to get started. Do you have any suggestions? also what kind of paper is best for planners? (noob and a half...I know)

Rhonda Miller said...

thanks, Tuttie
I don't know anything about printing with soy ink. And for the paper, it's really a personal choice. Use whatever you think will work - and if you are printing the pages, then probably use whatever prints best. I don't print the planners that I make, I buy the calendar part so I'm not making any of those decisions.