Monday, January 16, 2012

Getting Down To Business

I just returned from a wonderful visit with Bob in Maryville. We spent the weekend rounding and backing the spine of the book blocks that I brought with me, we also ploughed and attached endsheets as well as sewing a headband and adding edge decoration. I have learned so much about historical practices and I have also learned better studio practice for myself. I'm so excited to share some photos from my weekend although they are sparse because Bob had me working steadily day and night.

The first thing we did on Friday was make some tools. In the first photo Bob is cutting the old blade off of my paring knife. He then sent me out to the shop to grind a new, shallower blade. He also gave me a piece of hack saw blade to grind into two smaller paring knives. He cut a few strips of leather for me to pare with a Shar-fix and then I applied wheat paste and wrapped them around the handles of my newly sharpened knives. {the large piece of leather you see in the center frame is an entire goat skin}

We started working on my book block on Saturday. I rounded and backed the spine and then we moved the block into the plough to smooth out the head of the book. This was a slow task as you can only move the blade on the plough a fraction of a millimeter at a time.

After ploughing we lightly sanded the head and applied an edge decoration. It was then time to sew on the headband. Bob talked about making sure that the edge decoration, the endsheets, and the headband color and design all adhere to the historical period of the book. I thickened the book board and shaped the inside spine edges to fit into the curve of the shoulders that I had smoothed out with a hammer and bonefolder earlier in the day. I also beveled the interior of the cover so that it would come up to meet the block. I then punched the holes for the cords, laced them and pounded them in place. Using a large paring knife, I cut the cords and extra cover material off and glued it all down.

There's plenty left to do. We ended the weekend with a quick paring demo of which I felt completely inept but I hold out hope that the motion and pressure will click with me as I practice more in my home studio over the coming month. Stay tuned for some wood carving tests and lots more books!

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