Recently acquired another volume of the Archiv für Buchbinderei (Vols. 21-22, 1921-22). Another article by Ernst Collin, and 2 brief mentions/reviews of his Pressbengel. More about the Schablonenspritzpapier technique here and here.
Monday, March 15, 2021
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Thank you to Gloria Conti, conservator working in Scotland who found this Italian newsreel from 1938 titled Le tante utilizzazioni della pelle del pesce. The film shows the processing of fish skins into various products. Gloria provided a translation of the brief narration below.
The many uses of fish leather
In Germany fish leather is very in vogue. After being tanned, worked, dried, and handled with meticulous patience, it can be used to make many things like we see here: shoes, handbags, gloves, belts, and even to bind books.Thank you Gloria.
The imagery looks like the photos used to illustrate Franz Weisse's article "Fischhaut - Fischleder - Fischpergament" published in Das deutsche Buchbinderhandwerk, Vol 2, Nr 9, 1938. I described that article and shared some of the images in my post "Fish Skin - Tanned Fish Skin - Fish Parchment."
Perhaps the footage and images were taken together?
My question, are there articles and references in the bookbinding literature outside of Germany that describe using fish for binding...?
Sunday, February 7, 2021
In my post "Bookbinding and Adapting to Life Changes," I wrote about changes I've made to my studio equipment and how I approach some tasks... One of the things I mentioned was the challenge of using a board shear (Kutrimmer 1070) when one cannot push down on the foot clamp peddle. Being seated on a scooter makes it even more challenging... The wheels on my old indoor scooter were small diameter, but when I needed a new one this fall the wheels were larger, and I found that I could force myself on the clamp. That worked, but was a bit hairy (tipping danger) and caused the light board shear to wander.
Well, as we say in German, "what one doesn't have in the legs..., one needs to have in one's brain." (Was man nicht in den Beinen hat muss man in der Birne haben.). But, a small ramp... Hmmm. Sooo, threw together a simple ramp made of staggered off cuts of thin pink foam insulation board held together with a rubber band.
|Very sophisticated construction... 🙄 First test. Will it work?|
|Fritz Otto was worried he'd have to hold the ramp |
in place as it slide on the carpet while I moved back
and forth on the scooter. But, it worked. Just a few tweaks...
On to board shear ramp Mk. 2. This ramp has one more thickness of pink foam board (5 total), binders board top, e-flute corrugated bottom, some glue and packing tape to hold pieces in place, and velcro to hold it in place on the carpet.
|Much more robust and sophisticated construction.|
It's also almost twice as wide.
|Velcro hooks on bottom to keep it from moving on the carpet.|
I should be in business for 80% of my cutting needs. I'll take it. For those other times, Hope is always happy to help. The independence will feel good though.
[Edit 13 March, 2021]Thanks to Jeff Peachey I even have a very solid and attractive wooden "forever" ramp now.
|The incline and Jeff's message. I love the twisted humor.|
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Lots of books have need for indexing tabs, books such as directories, address books, and ledgers. The marks for the index are placed along the fore-edge of the book. These can be half-round cuts called "thumb indexes" like those found on many dictionaries, or they can be strips of decreasing length that are cut out of the fore-edge. It is the latter I will show here.
Mary Sullivan of Crowing Hens Bindery in Nashville, TN reached out to me about this topic and provided the beautiful images of her German-style indexing shears and an image of the one described in Wm Atkins Account Book Binding - A Classic Article on Folding, Sewing, Equipment,..., pg 33. Note: This is text is available as Print on Demand and is excerpted from The Art and Practice of Printing by John Mason, edited by Wm. Atkins. Mary, by the way makes beautiful springback bindings. Check them out on her website. They open flat and are great for writing in.
|Mary Sullivan's German Indexing Shears (top).|
Hickock Index Shears from Atkins, pg 33 (below).
Here is an image of shears, including the Registerschere from the 1928 catalog (pg. 38) for Braunwarth und Lüthke in Germany.
|The Registerschere is 2nd from right. The elongated shape|
between the handles shows the shape of the cutout.
Both feature an adjustable gauge to set the depth of the cut. So, how would one go about using these.?
First, one would need to determine how many cuts need to be made. In most traditions there are letters that might be combined, or even left out. The indexing tabs would also need to be evenly spaced out to have a clean looking index along the foredge. So, how would one do this? Math by dividing height of textblock by number of tabs, or is there an easier way? Well, it so happens that there is, reusable even. As an aside, this idea can also be easily adapted for determining sewing stations of pretty much any number for any common book. Just lay the signature on the template so that the textblock aligns at top and bottom, then transfer marks.
|Index Scale Card from Atkins, pg 32.|
Note "X" at the top and the added "Mc" at the bottom.
|Register-Einteilungsschema from Fritz Wiese's Werkzeichnen für|
Buchbinder, 1937. Note the combined and added indexing tabs.
We called a Registerkamm where I was an apprentice. Kamm = comb.
Paul Adams described how to cut these tabs in his Practical Bookbinding (1903) on pages 166-67.
For all such work a thumb index is generally required; each page takes one or more letters, or a specification is given, according to which the binder counts off the number of pages required for each letter—X and Y being here excluded. Nowadays, the indices are cut with index shears, which not only regulates the depth of the index but also avoids the acute angles which are so easily torn in.
Commence cutting from the back, that is, with the Z ; this, being the last letter, is not cut out. Then count off W, cut with the shears, and cut off what remains below to the bottom edge with a sharp knife, to do which a narrow thin board [or sheet of zinc] is slipped underneath. The further you proceed towards A, the longer is the strip which has to be cut out with the knife. When the excisions for the whole alphabet have been made, the letters are pasted on. These are sold ready printed, and nowadays are almost always in one piece for back and front.
The printed sheet with the alphabet is glued or gummed on the back, and, after drying, the alphabet is creased lengthwise and either cut so or punched out with a suitable tool. The single letters are damped and stuck in position.
When cutting with the shears, it is useful to cut a manageable number of pages at a time for comfort, and to keep "round" of the foredge, such as it will be. This cutting, as well as the vertical cut described by Adam above can be done before or after sewing.
Here what the index looks like. Image taken from Mary's copy of Leonard Monk's A Text Book of Stationary Binding, 1912.
|The cut out indices.|
|The brass "clip" at bottom holds the shears closed when not in use.|
Friday, January 22, 2021
We all get to deal with "difficult" clients from time to time. It didn't help that I made Bernie wait in the cold, and that the fish skin box wasn't what he expected. Some days you can't win...
Saturday, January 16, 2021
Martha Edgerton, book conservator and artist, was one of my first supervisors and mentors when I was a wet behind the ears and ahead of myself work-study student in the Department of Conservation and Preservation (1981-84) at Johns Hopkins. I've always admired her work so was happy to give Human Enclosure II, a powerful statement on the parallels of slavery and mass incarceration here in the United States, a home. It's been wonderful to keep the connection with her all this time.
The work is part of a larger series about the Atlantic slave trade titled The Amazing Race: The Atlantic Slave Trade Through the Pages of Book Art acquired in part by Special Collections at Johns Hopkins' Sheridan Libraries along with other works by Martha. Back in 2017, I was able to see many of those works as part of a larger exhibit at the Libraries titled Freedom Where I Stand that included many historic documents along with works of art that spoke to those themes.
|Josephine Baker in Freedom Where I Stand|
|In the online catalog for the exhibit. |
"The theater box represents the barracoons used to temporarily jail
captured Africans until enslavement and mid-Atlantic transport.
It also speaks to the subject of mass incarceration."
I purchased the piece from a large exhibit held in Baltimore at the Creative Alliance back in July. After the close of the exhibit it took a long time to get the work shipped, and then when it arrived it was damaged in transit. Talking with Martha, she asked to complete the needed conservation treatment and shipped it back to me. That was November 30th, and it took over 6 weeks to make it back to Syracuse.
|COVID is real! USPS is everywhere and its employees very exposed.|
Value them, they are essential!
Martha had her assistant LuLu help secure the elements and pack it up. The two of them did a great job (Martha is a very good teacher). LuLu's small fingers were no doubt an asset and really able to get in there.
|LuLu preparing it for its journey. |
Little did we know how long.
So, for the same reason I asked Fritz Otto to unpack. No damage this time.
|It was nice to see everything supported and secured so well.|
|Big supports, but very light.|
|The right tools for the job.|
|Even little supports where they were needed.|
|Everybody needs a hand, sometimes.|
|All done. So glad there was no damage. Thank YOU LuLu.|
Perhaps we'll have a chance to meet someday.
The work really makes you think about the Black lives destroyed by slavery and mass incarceration. We can and must do so much better.
Saturday, January 9, 2021
Below the image for bookbinding from Meinholds Handwerkerbilder. This was number 15 in the series illustrating trades. They were produced by Meinhold und Söhne, Dresden primarily as "posters" that were suspended between wooden rods for classroom use in 1924. The scan below is from a postcard series that was also issued.
|Meinholds Handwerkerbild Nr. 15, Buchbinder|
Nr 1. Der Schmied / Blacksmith, Nr 2. Der Tischler / Cabinetmaker, Nr 3. Der Schuhmacher / Shoemaker, Nr 4. Der Schneider / Tailor, Nr 5. Der Bäcker / Baker, Nr 6. Der Töpfer / Potter, Nr 7. Der Klempner / Plumber, Nr 8. Der Böttcher / Barrelmaker, Nr 9. Der Bauhandwerker / Construction worker, Nr 10. Weber / Weaver, Nr 11. Der Flußfischer / River fisherman, Nr 12. Der Sattler / Saddlemaker, Nr 13/14. Schriftsetzer und Buchdrucker / Typesetter and printer, Nr 15. Der Buchbinder / Bookbinder, Nr 16. Der Fleischer / Butcher, Nr 17. Der Korbmacher / Basketmaker, Nr 18. Der Gerber / Tanner, Nr 19. Der Maschinenschlosser / Machinist, Nr 20. Der Gärtner / Gardner