zondag 10 mei 2015


My lovely wife's birthday has passed, so now I can, at last, unveil the special birthday project.
But a little background first: My wife took up making her own perfumes sometime last year. Until now, she has been noting down her recipes in a simple office notebook.  I decided she needed something more special to keep and treasure her favorite mixtures. So I made her a handbound book for her recipes.
Mind you, I've never done any bookbinding before, nor do I own any of the  (expensive) specialised tools. So I had to improvise and jury rig some things along the way...
Here is the result of my journey into "ghetto bookbinding":

I'm quite pleased with the results, but much, much more importantly, so is my wife!
Some more pictures of the "book in progress" after the break...

The folios notched for sewing.

Sewing the folios (and also: behold my jury rigged sewing frame... Like I said, minimal tool, ghetto bookbinding!)

The fully sewn bookblock, on to the next stages (cleaning and finishing the edges, rounding the back and sewing the headbands)!

The texblock, rounded* and backed and the edges finished.
*: I didn't get the back as round as I had wanted, apparently I had either sewn it too tightly or over-glued the back in one of the earlier stages.... Lessons for a (possible) next time.

Headbands sewn, testfitting the case board. As this book is, structurally a codex binding, this means that the boards are attached to the book block before the book as a whole is covered with leather and/or cloth. In more modern stye bindings you make the book block and case (the covers and back, covered in leather/cloth/bookpaper) separately and glue them together when both are finished.

 Glueing in the cover boards.

Almost a book now... It just needs it's protective and prettifying "skin".

Here's where the cords on the outside disappear to. In the end they'll be hidden under the endpapers, once the book is covered.
In retrospect, the only thing I regret is not having a paring knife, or a useable way to "fake" one to thin the leather on the inside of the cover boards. Because this remains somewhat thick, the book has a tendency to stand open a bit, unless pressed or tied closed.
I quite enjoyed making this book, especially with it's intended purpose and recipient in mind. Though I might make more books in the future (it's fun, and rewarding if you love books as I do), this one will always remain special. It is a labour of love, for love.

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