Friday, October 18, 2019

Salmon Parchment Tests at UICB

A short video of the testing process on my salmon parchment conducted recently by Tim Barrett at the University of Iowa Center for the Book Research and Production Paper Facility.

So, how did the tests go? Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Bookbinding Materials wrote, "salmon skin is strong. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly strong it is."




TESTING REPORT
University of Iowa Center for the Book
Research and Production Paper Facility
October 17, 2019

P. Verheyen provided samples of goat skin parchment and fish skin parchment, both of about the same thickness.  An MIT Folding Endurance tester and an Elmendorf Tear tester were used to gather the reported data, although both are designed for evaluating the mechanical properties of paper, not parchment.  The two related TAPPI standard procedures used were T 511 and T 414.1

The following important exceptions to the specified steps occurred during the tests:
  1. None of the specimens were pre-conditioned or conditioned nor was testing done in a temperature and humidity controlled room. RH varied between 30 and 42%.
  2. Only two strips of both parchments were subjected to fold tests and 13mm wide strips were tested rather than the specified 15mm wide strips. 
  3. One ply of each parchment was used for the tear testing. 
  4. Three fish skin parchment tear tests were attempted and all were disqualified because the required tears across the full width of the specimen were not possible due to the strength of the material.
Below the results for goat parchment and PC4.




Saturday, October 12, 2019

Latest Salmon Parchment

Used my last piece of salmon parchment to have it tested for fold and tear strength, so had to make a new one. Note the translucency! So glad Wegman's has salmon fillets in a family size. Good to have Fritz Otto around to hold it up for photography...




Friday, October 4, 2019

Thank you Bookbinder Barbie

Very glad to have had @bookbinderbarbie visit this summer – THE highlight in my studio.
Don't stop learning and binding, and keep in touch.

Honored to have won "Most bookbindery photo?" The NBSS knit hat will keep me toasty during our brutal Syracuse winters and in the slightly warmer studio.


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Fritz Otto Gets Ready for the Week

Fritz Otto says a professional always makes sure their Kittel (lab coat) is clean and crisply ironed to start the week... This tacking iron is almost the right size, still need a proper ironing board though.


Fritz Otto washes, bleaches, and irons his lab coat every weekend, well almost every weekend. 

Below, the workshop of the Kunstgewerbeschule Hamburg under the direction of Professor Kurt Londenberg, former student of Ignatz Wiemeler. From the December "Bilderbeilage" of the Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien, [after 1957]. Note the nice crisp lab coats. 




Thursday, September 26, 2019

A Bookbinder’s Journey 2: My analog and virtual life in the book arts

A Bookbinder’s Journey: My analog and virtual life in the book arts

48th Susan Garretson Swartzburg ’60 Memorial Book Arts Lecture
Lecturer: Peter D. Verheyen
Thursday, Oct. 17th, 2019 — 6:00 p.m.
Wells College, Aurora, NY




Lecture poster by Leah Mackin,
with imagery derived from fish skin.


Saturday, September 14, 2019

Decorated Papers

Recently received 3 years of bound volumes of the Archive für Buchbinderei, 1930-32.

1930 featured 2 tipped in decorated samples, one paste and one oil marbled.

"Hand painted" decorated paper from the workshop of Emma Gustorff,
Beuel a. Rh. (now  a part of Bonn).

Oil marbled paper from the Workshop of Alex Peltzer, Munich.

1931 was bound by a first year apprentice and covered with a paste paper of his own making.

Paste paper (and half-linen) binding by a 1st year apprentice.
No, the label was not adhered to the cover.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Fritz Otto Goes Fishing 2

In the last installment, Fritz Otto Goes Fishing, our hero prepared the fish skin for making parchment, but also trying something new, egg tanning. We're following Nienke Hoogvliet's instructions from her book Fish LeatherReady? Here we go! Fritz Otto is glad @bookbinderbarbie left copies of her notes.

Taking one of the haddock and stretching it out to make parchment.
We'll compare with the egg tanned haddock.

All right, that's done. Now to let it dry.

 

Now, on to the egg tanning!


Why do I always get the grunt work?Beat the egg, oil, detergent mixture until smooth.

Next, tamp the haddock and salmon so that they are not dripping wet.

At least I didn't have to drop the skins into the egg/oil
mixture to then massage it into the skins until warm.
That looked totally gross!

But, wait! I get roll up the slimy skins so that they can sit for about 15 minutes.

Now we hang them up to drip-dry.
When dry, they'll still feel oily/slippery, and we'll need to massage and work them to
loosen up the fibers in the skin. We do that for a week.


Here they are a week later. Time to rinse in soapy water until they
feel soft and not oily/slippery.

Rinse, and rinse some more...

Let drip-dry. We tamped with a paper towel again, too.

Then, dump them into a more dilute mixture, work in, and set out to dry.

We smoothed them out to dry on a piece of plexi-glass,
scale-side down. That gives them a shinier appearance.
When they were dryish, we worked them back and forth
over a smooth dowel, always with the flesh side to the dowel.
Finally, we worked it like leather before paring.

Take out the pins and liberate the haddock parchment. Next we'll compare.

Comparing the haddocks – parchment at the bottom, egg tanned at top.
The egg tanned is like parchment, but much shiner and more
transparent. Not sure how we feel about that... The whitish patches are
fleshy stuff that will need to be scrapped off with a scalpel later.
The haddock is much more thin-skinned than the salmon.

See what I mean by transparent and shiny?

And here the egg tanned salmon. Less translucent than the salmon parchment that was made
 when @bookbinderbarbie was here over a month ago. Softer too, but not supple like leather.
Still. looks and feels really interesting. Wonder if we'll make anything with it?

Click here to see where this fishy adventure started.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Always Document Your Work and Keep Notes

Always photo-document your work and keep notes, no matter what career stage you're at. You never know when you'll refer back. Even Fritz Otto knows that.

Documenting his first go at making parchment from fish.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Fritz Otto Goes Fishing

Thanks to Fritz Otto, I'm able to dive into another round of making fish skin parchment and leather. Have three skins in this batch, one coho salmon, and two haddocks. He'll make parchment from one of the haddocks, and then "we'' egg-tan the other and the coho following Nienke Hoogvliet's instructions from her book Fish Leather, a by-product of her RE-SEA ME project. Will be nice to have two identical species to compare.

A few weeks ago, Fritz Otto skinned the fillets we got,
freezing the skins until we're ready. This is the coho.


The skins were rinsed in unscented/un-dyed dish detergent to help remove oils.
This process was repeated a few times, the skins kept in the refrigerator in-between
to prevent decay.

Next I showed him how to remove any remaining fleshy bits
from the skin. 

He used a scalpel and scrapped away...

Tiring work he just wanted to hide after.
He said it was kind-of gross.
I gave him some space...

Reading up from Nienke Hoogvliet's instructions from her book Fish Leather
The skins are soaking in a Mason jar with the dish detergent again. Tomorrow we stake out the one haddock to make parchment, and then start the egg-tanning. Looks straight forward.

See Fritz Otto Goes Fishing 2 for the next steps.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Bookbinding Supplies | Buchbinderei-Bedarf, 1928

Below the 1928 Braunwarth & Lüthke catalog that gives a wonderful sense of the all the expendable supplies (paper, cloth, leather), hand tools, and equipment that a bookbinder of that time would have had available to them. Schmedt in Hamburg acquired Braunwarth & Lüthke 1990[ish] to give them a branch in Munich.

While not all items are depicted, where they are they can be a great aid to understanding terminology in foreign language manuals, especially in tandem with a resource like the Multi-lingual Bookbinding/Conservation Dictionary, https://bookbindingdictionary.com .

Braunwarth & Lüthke, München,
Braunwarth & Lüthke - Preis-Liste über Materialien, Werkzeuge, Beschläge,
Apparate und Maschinen für Buchbindereien und verwandte Branchen.1928.

Scanning all 138 pages with Fritz Otto's help.
No worries, the signatures were all loosely sew and the wrapper off, so no damage.

Complete tool sets for apprentices just starting out, and those more advanced.
Included were a bone folder, bookbinding knife, paring knife, scissors,
sewing needles, keys for securing raised cords in the sewing frame, a green linen apron.
The advanced included more of some of the tools and a divider.
Mk 14 and 17 respectively. (Page 42)

Everything needed to equip a small hand bindery.
Mk 1620 (Page 125)


View below or download here.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Syracuse Book Bindery

Something a bit closer to home from Syracuse's golden industrial past...

Thanks to a friend and colleague I got this great advertisement for the Syracuse Book Bindery of Jacob H. Miller. The ad is from 1867 and promotes services of all kinds in the "best manner, on short notice, and at low rates." I wonder how they managed it.

Syracuse Book Bindery of Jacob H. Miller, ca. 1867.

Good, cheap, or fast. You can really only have 2 of those.

I'm looking for a contemporary photo of the location at 23 & 24 Washington St, here in Syracuse, but nothing yet. This is what that location looks like now. While the current building is old, it in all likelihood looked more like the one below the Google Street View image.


Below a view of another bindery... from the 1850s, the site of the Jerry Rescue that was part  of Syracuse's abolitionist past. The location of this building is about 2 blocks away and more typical of the architecture of the time. The buildings name gives pause - perhaps an earlier location of our bindery?

The Jerry Rescue Building was located in Clinton Square
on the corner of Clinton Street and Water Street.
From the Syracuse Historic Walking Tour pages.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Fritz Otto Buchbinder

Needed a little help, alright a lot of help in the studio, something that was very evident during Bookbinder Barbie's visit. We had fun, worked well together, and I was able to teach her about some of my favorite weird bookbinding proclivities like making parchment from fish skin. Most of what I learned from that experience was that working alone can be hard for any number of reasons.

That got me talking to some old connections in Germany, and through them learned about a very motivated and well-versed binder, Fritz Otto Buchbinder, who was looking for some new experiences. He's a Meister, learned from some very good (and not so good) binders in the trade, and spent at one of the few remaining art academies teaching binding. There are also a lot of under- and unemployed bookbinders around...

He arrived recently on Lufthansa who managed to lose all his tools, save one. Ouch! To the rescue. the New World's best tool maker, Jeff Peachey who was able to outfit him with some of his finest tools. I was able to scare up some bone folders and Berlin-style brushes with the metal handle that he likes so much. The one tool he managed to save was the bone folder his Meister gave him as an apprentice. This Meister had gotten from the Meister of his Meisterin. Apparently it had guided a certain Franz through his career as a binder. There it is grinning from the pocket of his lab coat.

Fritz Otto Buchbinder with his Peachey Swiss paring knife.

The tool starter set, more will appear as they are needed and made.

Looking at paring knifes in the 1928 Braunwarth & Lüthke catalog.
Fritz prefers the Swiss and French styles of knives to the traditional German kind.
This is the result of bad experiences he had with the knife his Meister gave him –
Said it was a stumpfe Gurke... (dull cucumber).

Fritz is already getting lost in the Fachbibliothek. He's glad to find his familiar
German manuals, but is also very interested in what he can learn from the
English (and other) ones. I'm sure his English will improve quickly.

Fritz was blown away to see this binding from the "golden age" of German binding,
the period between the World Wars.

Examining a "Dorfner-style" open joint binding on the print-on-demand version of
Ernst Collin's The Bone Folder (Der Pressbengel).

I look forward to having Fritz Otto in the studio with me, teaching him things as well as learning from him. He's curious, loves exploring the old binding manuals and trade publications. Mostly, I'm sure he'll get me binding more. I'll also be glad for his help working on the layout and running the trains.

Monday, August 5, 2019

A Fish Skin Rug

I was recently made aware of Studio Nienke Hoogvliet, "a design studio for material research, experimental and conceptual design based in The Hague, The Netherlands. The studio was founded in 2013 with a focus on "raising awareness of social and environmental problems in the textile, leather and food industry."

In her project SEA ME she researches how seaweed can contribute to a more sustainable textile industry. RE-SEA ME focuses on the applications of fish skin. She also published a book describing her method of preparing skins without chemicals. Based on the video this looks like she is making parchment, a topic dear to my heart. The book costs $75 including shipping to the US. Can't wait to get my copy and wish I had a rug like she made. Perhaps I need to make my own.

RE-SEA ME is the continuation of SEA ME. To show the duality between plastic waste in the oceans and the sustainable materials the oceans have to offer, Nienke continued her search for materials out of the sea. She discovered that fish skins are a waste product of the fishing industry, while you can also make them into beautiful leather.

She went to fish shops to collect their waste and discovered a way of tanning the skins without any chemicals. By using an old technique, that requires a lot of manual labour, she created a strong, sustainable and beautiful material that can be used like regular leather. To show the abilities of the leather, Nienke designed a small stool with fish leather seating. To continue the SEA ME collection, she also designed a conceptual rug where the fish leather is sown into a discarded fishing net.


Saturday, July 27, 2019

Bookbinder Barbie Visits Syracuse

So, @BookbinderBarbie is a real thing. In some ways she is becoming an "influencer" and a meme for the bookbinding and book arts set online, at least I hope she will become. We could all use a lighthearted ambassador that makes what we do accessible to the "masses," at least I think so.

She was started by North Bennet Street School Bookbinding (NBSS) students a year ago, and has been sharing her experiences in that program and during her travels ever since. This summer she is visiting binders, conservators, printers, artists, and many others throughout the US, before heading back to start her second year at NBSS. Think of it as a series of intense, short-term internships.

Bookbinderbarbie on Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/bookbinderbarbie/

I was fortunate to have her visit this past week, and we had some great experiences in a few short days. She got here late because Air USPS "lost her," then decompressed for an evening by looking at some books including one about her in a past life, and playing with the trains. Next day we headed across Syracuse to see some sights and visit Boxcar Press and the great people there. That evening, I taught her the stiffened paper binding (Steifbroschure) and we made a 1/4 fish leather binding with sides covered in hand printed cloth made by an artist in Venice. This was a prelude to making her own parchment from salmon the next day. That next day she got to go to work with me, and while I was doing my thing with spreadsheets (she wasn't interested) she received a personal tour of Syracuse University Libraries' amazing Plastics Collection from Courtney, the curator. She was an instant fan!

After we got home it was time to make that parchment. Below a few photos, embedded posts from with links to the others from Syracuse. To see all her adventures, you know you want to, scroll through her Insta feed, better yet follow for there is much more to come.


Richard Minsky Nice to see Barbara Slate's Marvel Barbie comic.
It's been 25 years since Barbie taught at the Center for Book Arts.
Looks like a new bookbinder Barbie may take that position ❣️
Barbie #43, July, 1994.

Making a 1/4 fishskin case binding with printed cloth sides.
Barbie came with her own tools.

The stiffened paper binding (Steifbroschure)
More under https://pressbengel.blogspot.com/search/label/steifbroschure


Syracuse's own Niagara Mohawk building, an art deco gem.

I got to go shopping for a delicious meal in advance of Barbie's visit. Yum!

Stretching out the salmon parchment.

Inspecting the stretched out skin.

A full step-by-step description of the process can be
found under 

https://pressbengel.blogspot.com/2018/05/
more-fish-parchment-mehr-fisch-pergament.html



Finally, looking at some books, here the Boss Dog Press edition
of Ernst Collin's Pressbengel that was translated
by Peter D. Verheyen as The Bone Folder. 
Download the text laid out for binding in the left sidebar,
make some fish parchment, and bind your own copy.
Make sure to share pictures.

Links to all the posts from Syracuse:

I can't wait to see what Barbie does next and how she grows as an emerging professional. Perhaps she'll tell her story in a journal article or blog post somewhere. I know I had a wonderful time hosting her, and know all the others she visited did as well. What a great way to spend the summer. Made me feel young again.

Related, perhaps other programs and individual book artists could adopt this concept with their own Avatars, and then they could all converse and grow together as practicing binders and book arts professionals.

Oh, Twitter seems to be enjoying her, too.

Some tweet reactions!