Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spring cleaning in Autumn

After a crazy week in the bindery, completing 10 of my boxes for the ongoing challenge in 10 days(with the aid of plates in most cases.....more about that whenever "A" can get the pictures...didn't even have time to take any)I am taking the time to address tool and equipment maintenance.
Paul from changed out the blades of the chopper, brought a new set, refinished a nipping press, and got me started stripping and replaning my 3 laying presses.
I had been waiting for the time to sort out the laying presses, due to the fact that all 3 had been covered with a layer of varnish...the large one was sprayed(including the wooden screws!!!)with a layer of Polyurethane.
All I will say about that is, if you are going to buy bookbinding equipment, depending on where you get it you will have to ask how the wood has been treated or finished.
In short the polyurethane rubbed off the cheek leaving an uneven surface, scorched the bottom of the plough, the pins eventually becoming clogged-up with small flakes of a white residue, it remained idle for almost a year.
I took great satisfaction in taking them all apart and sanding the cheeks back to the raw wood, and applying a treatment of linseed oil.
The box challenge continues a pace with some new titles(hunter s.thompson, martin luther king, more fitzgerald)and a new deadline......20 by december 31st, so watch this space .......

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Using Stamping Plates for Onlays

I was sworn against using blocking in the beginning, but have since realised there are some instances where they can work well.
par any box where the accuracy of reproducing any illustration on the cover is important, as in the Tolkien trilogy, where the edition is illustated by the author , having a hand drawn eye of mordor on each of the spines.
Learning how to prepare files for stamping is an important aspect of a trade bookbinders life, more about that in the "guide", I will however, offer a brief description of the steps involved.
It works the same way any Hand-tooled onlay works.First, a blind impression is made, then and onlay material applied , then tooled again. Here, though, a template is made first. I make all my stamping plates on thick paper glued together, as the damp gives a nice deep impression into which the plate can sit whilst positioning.Second the spine piece is mounted onto a board the same size, then glued to the cover without the front and back boards.(you can spot glue, or glue the whole thing and peel it away, up to you to figure out what works best)The plate is positioned, then stamped. Onlay material can then be applied over the blind impression, and if you jig is up to snuff, the onlay can stamped in whatever you like. This provides a crisp, clean, and accurate rendition when needed.Its also a lot quicker, but as its immediately recogniseable to the trained eye, its not always a fitting solution, so it has to be used sparingly. Once the work on the spine is complete, the backing can be removed, the boards attached , and the cover turned-in, and any more work with plates can then be completed in the same manner.NB stay away from the joints, just as in hand-tooling, a lesson I'd do well to listen to myself occasionally, but I forget.