Wednesday, 27 July 2011

New book on the bench.

Swiss rolls of leather.

The Doctor's Dilemma... Finished.

Well, very nearly finished..
Just a little bit of fiddling.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Doctor's Dilemma... Guarding the spine folds part 1..

Because of the damage to the spine folds I will have to do repairs. I have used a Japanese , long fibre paper (Toned Kozo) To save time I have fold the repair paper over on its self a number of times and staple the folded paper to a piece of board. I then pre-cut the lot with a perforation wheel, the strips can be removed as and when required.

The cuts have a slight undulation. I find this method to be quick and saves on repair paper.

I am sure that purists will be up in arms at this method but it works. The adhesive I use is a Japanese rice starch paste.

The Doctor's Dilemma... Guarding the spine folds part 2..

Rice starch paste is applied to the repair paper. I use an old window panel to paste out on.

A clean sheet of waste paper is placed next to the repair paper.

The spine fold is placed into position, just under half way to allow the repair paper to go around the fold.

The section and repair paper can then be picked up as a single unit.

The Doctor's Dilemma... Guarding the spine folds part 3..

Fold over and secure the repair paper.

Place the section into the fold of some release paper.

Consolidate the repair paper.

Leave to dry.

When dry cut the repair paper flush with the head and tail of the section.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Doctor's Dilemma.....

Though I suppose I am perhaps best know for contemporary binding and some bookarts I also undertake the rare repair or restoration job. Some years ago I spent my day at the bench as a bench monkey (general bookbinder in a small company paid peanuts... hence bench monkey)

As said, I do undertake some general work but there are a number of boxes must be ticked ...

1st. Do I like the customer ? If no then I suggest another binder, if yes then we move to box 2. I feel that it is important to enjoy the company of your customers. It could be that the relationship may last sometime and that with each visit I gain more insight as to their requirements, their likes and dislikes. Also that as the binder you may have to educate them as to what is possible given their budget, use of the book, condition etc.

2nd. Do I want to do the work and is the work involved within my skill base. Again if no then I suggest another binder. If yes I move to the final box....

Last. Will I enjoy the work ? It could be that I may be spending a lot of time working on the book....As a side note to this, as I am working on the book the studio members and students will have the chance to see how I tackle issues, problems and bad stuff with the repair of old books. Also, how I work out my costings and charges.... something that few teachers like to talk about.....

I realise that my attitude may come across as arrogant and that I am not genuine ( as one critic said recently) but it is the way I work and have worked for the last 20 or so years... it works for me but I realise that it does not work for all... each to their own.

The Doctor's Dilemma (1872). In 3 volumes, bound using wire staples.... what more can one say....

First the text blocks are removed from the original binding and the sine linings removed. This had to be done dry as the condition of the paper and the fact that the staples were rusted meant that no paste could be used. I used a dental tool to pick of the papers and old adhesive...

This took some time...

When the spine was clean I then opened up the staples being very careful to keep as much of the staple intact because a broken staple leaves a hook that can result in more damage when the staple is removed from the section..

The staples were then extracted from the inside of the section.... not easy but a workable technique.

I realise that this is only one way to deal with the problem of staples, but I have to consider time and budget..... Hence the pile of staples in a previous post....

Next is manual cleaning and pressing the sections, then onto spine repair.......


There is a story behind this rusting pile of staples..... more to follow soon.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Liverpool Doors....

Poet and good all round egg Roger McGough and I will be working in Liverpool later this year.... we will be making books out of doors.
The book /s library will form part of the permanent collection of the new Museum of Liverpool, the main opening is the 19th of this month with the installation of our work later in the year.

Why doors ? I hear you ask... well here is the background to the concept....
On one of the very rare evenings that Roger and I found ourselves in the Red Lion pub (Barnes) at the same time.... we started to talk about our various projects. Over our first beer the chat flowed this way and that.....
During the second Roger asked me how big could a book be made... I replied that in theory any size but practically about the size of a door... Roger had been asked to produce some work for the New Museum of Liverpool and wondered if a large book would work... the chat turned to the third pint the ideas had turned into sketches on the reverse of the menus.
After many false starts and cul de sacs we came up with using doors .

Doors fantastic things.. They open and close,we are carried through them at birth and death... they keep us safe, the welcome us. Notes are pinned to them for the milk man, letters are posted through them, loo roll, coats, and towels are hung on them. Posters are blu tacked to them........... doors everywhere , quite often we do not notice them until they are not there.

With their different paint, knobs, letter boxes etc each has their own special history, but when a property is re-developed or pulled down where do we see the doors ? by and large used to line skips or torn up and left as rubbish.
This is why we are using doors.... They can form a diptych, triptych etc. Ori Hon, with a bit of work one can make a codex out of them.

We have started with the collection and our first doors are from the Everyman Bistro and Theatre.

Roger and doors.......