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.