another box related post

May 29th, 2019

Does anyone else use these picture framing jigs to assemble box shells? They keep everything firmly in alignment until the PVA sets up, and generally expedite the process. I think they’re worth having.

Clamshell linings

January 11th, 2019

Relating to a thread on the Book Arts List, here are a couple of images of the lining of the inner shell of a cloth clamshell box.

The Bone Folder

April 14th, 2018

The Bone Folder is the fifth, and most ambitious, publication of the Boss Dog Press.  A letterpress edition of Ernst Collin’s Der Pressbengel, translated from the original German by Peter D. Verheyen, the text is a dialog between a fictional bookbinder and his equally fictional patron, with the goal of educating bibliophiles about the processes of hand bookbinding. The dialog is carried out over six days, Monday through Saturday, with a different subject each day. Monday covers forwarding; Tuesday is decorated papers, leather and vellum;  Wednesday, paper case bindings; Thursday, quarter leather bindings; Friday is full leather binding; Saturday describes gold tooling.The original edition was published in 1922, and has been reprinted in other languages; the first English translation was made available in the 2009 Guild of Book Workers Journal,  and also as a downloadable pdf from Peter’s Pressbengel Project blog.

The text is augmented by a bio-bibliographical study of the history of the Collin family, three generations of whom were bookbinders of significance in Germany from the mid-1800’s to World War II. This essay is the culmination of Peter D. Verheyen’s extensive research about Ernst Collin over several years. This work resulted in The Collins, available open access for download or Print On Demand.

Portrait of Hans Schiff.

In addition the text is complemented by the inclusion of seven photographic images, a frontispiece, and an enlarged image of Ernst Collin’s handwritten signature. Sibylle Fraser graciously allowed the Press the use of the images, which had been taken in Germany in the 1930’s. Six of the pictures show some of the stages of a hand bookbinding, from sewing through gold tooling the finished book. An additional image is a portrait of the photographer, Hans Schiff, as a young man. Schiff emigrated to the US before World War II, and spent the rest of his life as a professional photographer in New York, working as John Schiff. All of the images were scanned from the original negatives and printed digitally by Light Work at Syracuse University. The frontispiece is a facsimile of the original 1922 German title page, and was printed on the Washington press.

The title page spread.

The books have been printed by hand in two colors on the Boss Dog Press Washington handpress. The text paper is Hahnemühle Biblio and was printed dry.The book was imposed as two nested folios per signature, and there are 9 signatures per book; the page size is 9″ x 12″. Composition was done using Adobe InDesign in Linotype digital Walbaum. The titling font is the second iteration of the Boss Dog Press FritzGotische designed by Don Rash. Polymer plates were made by Boxcar Press.

The edition size is 110 copies, of which 100 are for sale. All of the copies are distinguished by either Roman numerals, Arabic numerals, or upper case letters, as noted below. Each copy is signed by Peter D. Verheyen and Don Rash.

The opening for Monday’s dialog.

There are three binding states for this title:

Fifty copies are case bound  in full pastepaper over boards with two color letterpress printed paper labels on spines and front boards. The endsheets are Hahnemühle Bugra gray, and the endbands are rolled leather around cord. The textblocks are hand sewn on four linen tapes.These copies are numbered in Arabic numerals.

Twenty six copies are quarter bound in-boards using Chieftain goat over pastepaper boards and with hidden leather corners. These copies are hand sewn over five flattened cords. The endbands are hand sewn in two shades of blue thread. The endsheets are Hahnemühle Bugra gray with the addition of leather inner joints. The spines are gold stamped. These copies are lettered A-Z.

Twenty copies were reserved as unbound sheets for binding; these are designated by Roman numerals I-XX.

Each bound copy is housed in a slipcase made covered with its matching pastepaper.

The pastepapers were designed in collaboration between Don Rash and apprentices Helen Kirk and Jonah Jablons. Helen and Jonah executed the pastepapers for the edition as well as assisting with the printing and binding, for which the Press and printer are deeply grateful.

Prices for the books are as follows:

Case bound copies are $450.

Quarter bound copies are $600.

Sheets are $300.

Priority shipping is $15.

Standing order customers receive a 20% discount and free shipping; book dealers receive a 30% discount. Books can be ordered by contacting the Press at; by phone at 1-570-239-8643 or by mail at Boss Dog Press/50 Burke St./Plains, PA   18705  USA.

As of the middle of April 2018, there are 41 case bound copies, 18 quarter leather copies and 8 sets of sheets available.

friday cat blogging

April 3rd, 2015

Bookie and Mr.Tail, back when it was sunny and warm.

making pastepapers: three lectures

December 14th, 2014

For the most recent Boss Dog Press imprint, Three Lectures, I wanted to do paper over board bindings as an homage to the small paper covered Insel Verlag titles in Trudi and Fritz Eberhardt’s personal library.  A number of pastepaper trials were unsatisfactory until a small brain-squall prompted a change in the process which provided the solution. Here’s how it was done:

The tweak here was, instead of pasting the paper and then manipulating the pattern, to produce the pattern on the table and then press dampened paper onto the layer of paste and pigment; essentially a primitive offset procedure. Above you can see the workspace consisting of a taped off area on the bench along with acrylics, paste and a pellon-covered mailing tube.

Here, intern Ester Lopez is applying paste to the image area.

Next she adds dots of burnt sienna, burnt umber and black,

and begins by brushing the colors first vertically,

then horizontally.

The final pattern is made with semi-circular strokes of a flat bristle brush. Note the three sheets of paper on the left, which are relaxing after being dampened.

The damp paper is laid onto the pattern,

and then ‘printed’ by rolling the tube over it.

And the finished papers are air dried.

Usually there was enough paste and pigment left on the work surface so that a second set of sheets could be pulled. The second sets differ considerably in character, but that’s the fun of it…

1984 pt. 6 – housing

April 17th, 2013

Finally, the box. The book originally came to me with an incomplete dust jacket; probably the circumstance which made this copy suitable for rebinding. However, the dust jacket was still worth preserving, so I made a cloth covered two-flap portfolio for it, and built the box inner shell according to the Library of Congress plans for a box and portfolio.

The inner shell was constructed so as to fit both the portfolio and the finished binding. The shell was covered with gray Iris bookcloth. After covering the shell and portfolio were airbrushed with a combination of raw umber and black to bring down the tone The shell was lined with gray suede adhered to thin board, turned in, and glued into the shell. Next the outer shell was built, covered and airbrushed.

The board for the spine was covered with a a piece of the same gray leather used for the binding, turned in head and tail, and then adhered to the bases of the shells. This style of box was a favorite of the Eberhardts; I like it because the flat spine with the leather disappearing under the boards makes for a very contemporary box, as opposed to the rather Victorian round spine (sometimes with fake bands) extending well onto the boards.

The boards were covered with gray Iris, and the same aluminum patterns used for the onlays did double duty as airbrushing masks.

This image shows the box after the spine lining cloth was attached, and before the suede lining pad for the outer shell was made and adhered.

The final step was to pare, line and stamp an irregularly shaped piece of suede for the box label and and adhere it to the spine.

And an image of the final presentation. I want to thank the client, who was willing to let me share the documentation of this extremely gratifying project.

1984 pt. 5 – cover and onlays

April 12th, 2013

The leather for 1984 is a gray third quality Harmatan skin. I was hoping for something with a fair amount of imperfections, but it was quite nice for a third.

Above is the cover leather marked out for paring. The turnins were flat-pared to the thickness of two-ply board, which was used to fill in the inside of the cover board. The corners and headcap areas were then hand pared, and the joints were folded, creased hard and then the top of each crease was hand pared just enough to flex easily.

The onlays were made from pieces of the suede side of the gray goat pared very thin on the Schärf-fix, given a thin pastewash and dried on a flat surface ( I used a melamine surfaced sink cutout; useful thing to have in the shop). The patterns for the numerals 19 and 84 were made from thin aluminum lithographic plates and used to cut out the onlays.

Here you see the onlays loosely placed on the cover. The last step before applying the onlays was to edge pare them by hand. This caused some irrregularities in the edges that I think improved the design.

The onlays were adhered with a PVA/paste mixture and immediately given a hard press for about half an hour.

Then the cover was clamped face down onto a litho stone,  pared with a spokeshave and then given another hard press. By repeating this process another couple of times the onlays were very effectively sunk into the cover leather.

The actual covering was done in the standard German style: the spine of the cover was pasted out and adhered to the spine of the textblock and allowed to dry. Then the sides were put down with paste (normally I use hot glue, but needed a little extra time to work the leather down into the recesses in the front and back boards).

Once the sides were dry, I did the head and tail turnins and the caps.

Here’s the book prior to doing the foredge turnins and inner joints.

And here is the inside of one board after the inner hinge and foredge have been laid, just before finishing the corners. After this I tipped a piece of two-ply board to the inside of each cover board, then cut through both the two-ply and the leather of the turnins. Then I lifted out the lining boards, trimmed a sliver for expansion and adhered them back down, leaving an even base for the pastedowns, which were applied with paste and allowed to dry.

The final steps were to make and apply the spine labels of stamped suede, tool the single blind horizontal line across both boards and the spine, and to adhere the insets to the front and back boards.

Here are the front pastedown and flyleaf

and the rear.

Next: the box.

an unsolicited plug

September 12th, 2012

I’ve been getting  my binders board, hot glue and stamping foils from Ernest Schaefer Inc. over in Union NJ for quite a while now. This morning the current shipment arrived and my 10 lbs. of ground hide glue came packed in these majorly spiffy plastic containers. How cool is that?…

Patronize these folks. Seriously.

1984 pt. 4 – telescreen & door number

September 2nd, 2012

The insets for the front and back are comprised of frames and backing pieces of two-ply museum board. While differing in detail, they are the same size, and echo the proportions of the book. The image for the telescreen consists of a background of tv snow printed digitally onto Rives paper;  the text was printed letterpress using Franklin Gothic type. The door number was printed using small wood type onto a piece of gray over black paste paper. The toned gray leather for the frames was pared out on the Scharf-fix until it was quite thin.

As is the case with such frames, the inside corners had to be covered before the main leather was adhered.

Then the covering pieces were adhered, cut and turned in.

Because the backing piece for the front frame (the middle piece on the left) has little ears that are intended to be visible, it had to be completely covered. The small frame below it is for the speaker.

Here’s the telescreen before assembly. The frame covering leather needed to be cut so as to fit around the ears on the backing piece. And below you can see the Vyvek plastic which covers the image.

The assemblies are held together by the covering leather wrapping around the backings. Since neither the images nor the Vyvek pieces are adhered to the backings there’s no problem with expansion or pull.

Once these units were finished, I traced the outlines onto the boards, added a bit to allow for the covering leather, and cut out  the outer layer of museum board where the insets were to go. At this point it was time to prepare the covering leather and the large onlays.

and now, back to our (ir)regularly scheduled programming

September 1st, 2012

Given that this is the first post in over a year, some explanation is in order. Parental health problems precluded much of anything in the way of either work or anything else the second half of last year. Fortunately, things turned around, and all’s well now. Turns out, though, that getting back into the blogging regimen (such as it was) was a lot harder than I would have expected; and now it’s September. Hi ho.

Anyway, that, more or less, is the story of the lost year. Now it’s time to finish up the documentation of the 1984 binding, and to move on to some more recent projects.