Thursday, January 28, 2010

First Design Binding - The Martian Chronicles

I decided I wanted to experiment with design binding. I went through my bookshelf looking for a good candidate and came across The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I removed the original covers, endpapers and the mull one the spine. The book was perfect bound and the spine was slightly rounded. Because of this I did not want to cut and rebind the text block out of fear I would loose a substantial amount of the margins. Instead I left the spine intact, lined it with linen (PVA) and gently hammered it to accentuate the round. Next I attached new end sheets and hand sewn head and tail bands. For the case, I decided to do a quarter leather with paste paper and leather onlays. The running theme was Mars-esque colors - brown, red, orange, etc.
The piece I choose for the spine had a great triangular shape on one edge, which I cleaned up and decided to incorporate into my design. I started by paring the turn-ins of the leather, cutting my boards to size, and back cornering the boards slightly. Then I began to attach the spine. First I pasted out the leather and let it sit to absorb the moisture. Next I placed the text block (with boards in position) into a finishing press, leaving enough of the spine edge out to work with. I removed the excess paste from the leather, attached the spine stiffener, and positioned it on the book, ensuring the spine stiffener was in the proper location. Then I rubbed the leather down on the boards, removed the book carefully from the press and did the turn-ins. I left a little extra sticking up at each turn-in for the head and tail caps, which I constructed by gently dragging the case along the bench. I tried string around the spine (in the joint) and left the cover to dry.
To make the onlays, I pared 1" strips of leather very thin, then pasted them together on a piece of Mylar. When I was happy with the placement. I removed the mylar and lined the back with Japanese tissue and put the leather in a press. When it had dried, I cut circles out of visually interesting areas, and saved them for my cover design.
When the leather on the spine had dried, I infilled the boards with blotting paper (to absorb some of my onlays), then attached the paste paper, slightly overlapping the leather. After this was pressed and dried, I added my onlays and pressed the book again, putting circles cut from folder stock over the onlays to force them down into the blotter. Finally, I stamped the cover and cased in the book. These are pictures of the finished product (2010).

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