“Poems, poems everybody…!”

Tags

, ,

“Do your worst!” shouted in defiance yours truly as he was backing books in his bindery during the relentless summer heat of the sun-scorched Athens. “Do your worst vile summer for I will not be deterred by your stupefying blaze, nor will the books remain unbound on my bench! I’d rather die and my remains be found hanging from the press with the backing hammer still gripped by my unresting hand!”. And the battle carries on…

The bookbinder has always been the unsung hero and this post pays homage to his endeavors and hardships, frustrations and desires, flaws and virtues and overall magnificence. Take some time to read a few interesting poems devoted to bookbinders, one way or another…
Presented in order of chaos, from bad to worse;

By Susana Dominguez Martin - Encuadernacion de Arte1) The Gilder’s lament
One of the decorative techniques in bookbinding is edge gilding, which was popular until the late 19th century. The gold is laid on the edges of the book, sometimes adorned with tooling as well. It is a very demanding technique that requires skill and experience.
Even so, things can go wrong as you will find out in this poem by a frustrated gilder from the 17th century.

Image by Suzana Dominguez Martin from Encuadernacion de Arte

My size is prepared,
The leaf is laid out,
My agate is polished and smooth.
The press, it is loaded,
The edge has been scraped,
I feel like I’m in the groove.
I put on the size,
I lay on the gold,
My confidence reaching its peak.
I polish the edge,
Till I see by its shine,
The edge of perfection I seek.
I take the book out,
Fan open the leaves,
My heart stops still in mid-beat.
Where has the gold gone,
I look all around.
As the leaf flakes onto my feet.
Oh, where did I err,
I did everything right,
But the gold, it just didn’t stick.
I love the gilt edge,
But the process is such,
That it leaves me feeling quite sick.

Papercut binder by Roger Grech2) How not to do it!
Backing is when the book’s spine is given a “mushroom” shape by striking it with a bookbinder’s (or cobbler’s) hammer. It takes time, effort and a lot of ruined books to be able to perform a good backing. The blows need to be in a sweeping manner, initially delivered almost horizontally while progressively moving to a steeper angle.

Image by Roger Grech from Papercut bindery.

A bad backing can be a horrific sight! And that’s why the following poem by Tom Conroy (a fine binder from Berkley California) is a prospect terrifying beyond words for the bookbinding mind…

Malcolm bashes books he backs,
Hammer falling straight and hard,
Lets them set in crooked stacks,
Asymmetric, dented, jarred,
Twisted heads and crumpled tails.
Seems to think he’s driving nails.

Foolish lad! He now is binding
Toolmakers’ catalogues
Full of hammers for the finding,
Hard as hearts and big as logs.
Out they come when backing’s noised.
See the books with hammers poised.

Malcontented books back Malcolm
Bash his spine from head to tail,
Straight blows! Hard blows! None can balk ’em!
Malcolm crumples with a wail.
He lies crooked on the ground.
Futile tears won’t bring him round.

The_Scream3) The curse
And now my personal favorite; A Solemn curse by Ben Burnisher pronounced upon a Master Bookbinder, circa 1880.

What follows is the absolute nightmare for every bookbinder there ever was. Period. Everything described is a heart stopping, mind numbing and blood chilling prospect.
Dimitri’s Bookbinding Corner honors the writer of the poem with the award for the most inspired and horror invoking but also elegantly phrased curse.

May rats and mice devour you paste,
Your paper and your leather;
May your hand letters be defaced,
Your types all mixed together.

May all your pallets, stamps and rolls,
Be on their faces battered;
Your beating stone packed full of holes,
Your hammer in pieces shattered.

And may your standing press fall down,
Your pressing boards be cracked;
May your law leather all turn brown,
Each law book edged in black.

May you be bothered all your life,
With workman brandy lovers;
With sandy boards and dull plough knife,
Thin paste, and horny covers.

And May your gilding all rub off,
Your roll burn through the leather,
And you hereforward be obliged
To finish in dry weather.

And may your polisher upon
The face be full of scratches,
And every cover you put on
At least have twenty patches.

May all your colours be too strong,
So as to rot your leather,
May all your books be lettered wrong,
Your fly leaves stick together.

May your laying press all get broke,
Your books be wrong collated;
And may you with foul charcoal smoke
Be almost suffocated.

May your apprentice run away;
Your business be diminished;
And may booksellers never pay
You when the work is finished.

God grant that the distressed may be
from Constable to Beadle;
And live till you can’t feel or see
Your press-pin from your needle.

Fellow binders, before you condemn Ben in total disgust for uttering words so foul, please take a moment to appreciate the imagination and passion that went into the creation of such a poem. Remarkable truly!

And with that I wish you all a nice summer!

Small journals II – Μικρά σημειωματάρια ΙΙ

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

3Lots of interesting things going on, hopefully I’ll be able to share them in time. In the meanwhile enjoy some pictures from small leather journals I’ve been making on the side for The Bookbinder’s Bench. 56

Προμηθευτές – ειδικό αφιέρωμα: Τι και που!

Tags

, , , , ,

(to my english readers; this post lists a number of suppliers for bookbinding materials and tools that I shop from regularly and are located in Athens. If you plan on visiting drop a line and I’ll take you shopping!)

Για όλους εσάς που ασχολείστε με την βιβλιοδεσία, επαγγελματικά και μη, ιδού μια ενδελεχής λίστα με τους προμηθευτές μου! Ποιοί είναι, τι έχουν και που θα τους βρείτε.
Να σημειωθεί πως είναι όλα -με μία εξαίρεση- μαγαζιά που βρίσκονται στην Αθήνα, ως επί το πλείστον στο κέντρο της πόλης. Είμαι βέβαιος ότι υπάρχουν πολλά ακόμη που διαθέτουν ίδια ή παρόμοια προϊόντα, η λίστα όμως περιλαμβάνει τα μαγαζιά που έχω δοκιμάσει ή ψωνίζω τακτικά και έχω μείνει ευχαριστημένος.

ΔΕΡΜΑΤΑ
1) Μερινόπουλος και Σία
Το βυρσοδεψείο αυτό από την εξωτική Άμφισσα , που αποτελεί οικογενειακή επιχείρηση, προετοιμάζει διαφόρων ειδών δέρματα. Είναι όμως το μοναδικό (εν γνώσει μου τουλάχιστον) πιά στην Ελλάδα που παράγει δέρμα ειδικά για βιβλιοδεσία.
Πρόκειται για κατσίκι φυτικής δέψης το οποίο μπορείτε κατόπιν συνεννόησης να προμηθευτείτε άβαφο και αγυάλιστο σε φυτική απόχρωση, γυαλισμένο σε φυσική απόχρωση και τέλος χρωματισμένο. Το πρώτο είναι το δέρμα που χρησιμοποιώ (και βάφω) στο 90% των βιβλιοδεσιών μου. Φουρνιά από φουρνιά διαφέρει αλλά σε γενικές γραμμές δουλεύεται άνετα, ρεφελάρεται, βάφεται και χρυσώνεται καλά. Και κυρίως συμφέρει: 1 τομάρι βγάζει συνήθως 4 βιβλία. Φτιάχνουν επίσης περγαμηνή.
ΤΗΛ- 2265022421 6948897450

Καρανάσος2) Καρανάσος & Σία
Τον ξέρετε, σωστά; Στη οδό Μιαούλη στο Μοναστηράκι υπάρχουν δύο μαγαζιά Καρανασαίων, αντικρυστά μάλιστα, το ένα έχει είδη δερματοτεχνίας και το άλλο έχει δέρματα. Μεγάλη ποικιλία σε χρώματα, υφές και μεγέθη. Ανάμεσα στα πολλά που διαθέτουν έχω συχνά εντοπίσει και κάποια κατάλληλα για βιβλιοδεσία.
ΔΙΕΥΘ- Μιαούλη Μοναστηράκι 
ΤΗΛ- 2103250988

ΧΑΡΤΙΑ
1) Τσοκάκης Δ. – Fine handmade papers
Ανοιχτός καθημερινές, Κυριακές και αργίες, με βροχή ή χαλάζι, σε πυρηνικό ολοκαύτωμα ή εισβολή εξωγήινων, ο Κος Τσοκάκης έχει ένα εκτενές υπόγειο με χαρτιά απ’όλο τον κόσμο. Γνώστης του αντικειμένου του θα προτείνει το κατάλληλο χαρτί για κάθε περίπτωση (μη διστάσετε να εξηγήσετε λεπτομερώς τι ψάχνετε) καθώς και το που θα βρείτε επιπλέον προμήθειες ή υπηρεσίες αναλόγως το project σας. Πολλά χειροποίητα χαρτιά.
ΔΙΕΥΘ- Νέα Σμύρνη  ΤΗΛ- 2109313544

2) Χαρτιά Περράκης
Ο Περράκης διαθέτει μια μεγάλη λίστα χαρτιών παραγωγής στην αποθήκη του. Αν τους περιγράψετε τι χρειάζεστε θα σας εξυπηρετήσουν αλλά είναι προτιμότερο να προμηθευτείτε το δειγματολόγιο τους και να πάτε έπειτα κατατοπισμένοι.
ΔΙΕΥΘ- Αλκμήνης 10 κοντά στο Γκάζι   ΤΗΛ- 2103412111

3) Μόρδος Ματαράσσος Σαμουήλ
Αυτό το μικρό υπογειάκι αποτελεί συχνή μου στάση για χαρτόνια (για καλύμματα, κουτιά βιβλιοδεσίας, κλπ) αλλά κυρίως για χαρτί Σαμουά που είναι φτηνό, ανθεκτικό και χρήσιμο σε διάφορες βιβλιοδετικές περιστάσεις.
ΔΙΕΥΘ- Πολυκλείτου 2 Μοναστηράκι (Κάθετος στη Βίσσης)  ΤΗΛ- 2103216462

ΥΦΑΣΜΑΤΑ
Πλατεία Αγ. ΕιρήνηςΕδώ θα αναφέρω μια περιοχή αντί συγκεκριμένα καταστήματα. Μπορεί τα βράδια η πλατεία Αγ. Ειρήνης και οι γύρω δρόμοι να είναι από καιρό το hot-spot της πόλης αλλά για μένα τα πραγματικά θέλγητρα της γειτονιάς αποκαλύπτονται μέσα στη μέρα: Χυτήρια, τυπογραφεία, αργυροχρυσοχοεία, ραφτάδικα και εργαστήρια κάθε λογής κρυμμένα σε υπέροχα παρακμιακές πολυκατοικίες δεκαετιών γεμίζουν την περιοχή από την πλατεία έως το Σύνταγμα. Όπως είναι λογικό τα συνοδεύουν οι αντίστοιχοι προμηθευτές, στην δική μας περίπτωση οι υφασματάδες. Πίσω από το ναό και στους τριγύρω δρόμους βρίσκεται συγκεντρωμένο πλήθος υφασματάδικων (πολλά στη συμβολή Σκουζέ και Καλαμιώτου) στα οποία θα βρείτε κυριολεκτικά οτιδήποτε. Αρκετά από τα υφάσματα που θα συναντήσετε μπορούν να χρησιμοποιηθούν στην βιβλιοδεσία.

ΕΡΓΑΛΕΙΑ – ΕΞΑΡΤΗΜΑΤΑ
“Μα που θα βρω εκείνο το κάτι που μοιάζει έτσι και κάνει για αυτή τη δουλειά;;;”. Συνοπτικά η απάντηση είναι “Στην Αθηνάς ή κάπου εκεί κοντά!”. Χάριν όμως της λίστας θα το περιορίσω σε 3 μαγαζιά που υπήρξαν συχνά η λύση σε τέτοιου είδους απορίες.

1) Καρανάσος & Σία
Όχι ο δερματάς, ο άλλος απέναντι! Ναι, έχει και αυτός δέρματα, αλλά κυρίως έχει ό,τι εργαλεία και τζιτζιμπλόγκια μπορεί να φανταστεί κανείς σχετικά με δερματοτεχνία. Όταν λέω “ό,τι μπορεί να φανταστεί κανείς” δεν είναι σχήμα λόγου, πηγαίνω 12 χρόνια σε αυτό το μαγαζί και ακόμη δεν γνωρίζω ούτε το 30% των πραγμάτων που έχει. Πολλές φορές μάλιστα ανακάλυψα κάτι που χρειαζόμουν χωρίς να ξέρω πως μοιάζει ή ότι υπάρχει καν απλώς και μόνο επειδή έψαχνα τα ράφια του ή το ζήτησε κάποιος άλλος πελάτης. Πριτσίνια, κηρονήματα, κλωστές, διακορευτές, βελόνες, ψαλίδια, μπρούτζινες γωνίες, πιαστράκια, βέλκρο, σουβλιά, μαχαίρια, λίμες, κουμπιά και κλιπάκια, μαγνήτες, σφυριά του τσαγκάρη για τις ράχες των βιβλίων… νομίζω μπήκατε στο νόημα!
Ένα από τα πολύ σημαντικά προϊόντα του για μας τους βιβλιοδέτες είναι η αμυλόκολλα που πουλάει φτηνά με το κιλό.
ΔΙΕΥΘ- Μιαούλη Μοναστηράκι

2) Αφοί Ρέππα
Ο ναός του πάσης φύσεως μάστορα και τεχνίτη, σε πολλές περιπτώσεις και του βιβλιοδέτη. Διαθέτει πριόνια, μεταλλικούς χάρακες και γωνίες, μικρόμετρα και παχύμετρα, γυαλόχαρτα, μάσκες και διάφορα άλλα.
ΔΙΕΥΘ- Κακουργοδικείου 3 Μοναστηράκι   ΤΗΛ- 2103212829

Φράγκος Μοναστηράκι3) Φράγκος
Πέρα από τα μπρούτζινα αμφικόχλια που χρησιμοποιούνται συχνά στη βιβλιοδεσία (είναι αυτές οι βίδες που βλέπετε συνήθως σε καταλόγους) διαθέτει και πληθώρα άλλων περίεργων εργαλείων και εξαρτημάτων όπως μεντεσεδάκια, μπρούτζινες λαβές και μικροσκοπικά καρφάκια.
ΔΙΕΥΘ- Αθηνάς 20  ΤΗΛ- 2103210122

ΧΡΥΣΟ – FOIL
Φύλλα χρυσού (αλλά και ασημιού, χαλκού, κλπ) ελεύθερα ή σε χαρτί:
1) Κ. Ζαδές  ΔΙΕΥΘ- Βίσσης 19 Μοναστηράκι ΤΗΛ- 2103212248
2) Κατσαχνιάς Ι.  ΔΙΕΥΘ- 3ης Σεπτεμβρίου 19  ΤΗΛ- 2105222785

Για πάστες τυπογραφίας (foil) ή απομίμηση χρυσού
3) Polypap  ΔΙΕΥΘ- Κοντογιανναίων 16 Γκύζη  ΤΗΛ- 2106410653

ΔΙΑΦΟΡΟΙ ΠΡΟΜΗΘΕΥΤΕΣ
Cookbookstore1) Ακόνισμα μαχαιριών Cookbookstore
Εάν το ακόνισμα των μαχαιριών για ρεφελάρισμα δεν είναι η καλύτερη σας -όπως και για μένα!- τότε θα εκτιμήσετε το εύρημα του Σταύρου Μ. ο οποίος κάνει πάντοτε ενδιαφέρουσες ανακάλυψεις: πρόκειται για το Cookbookstore στα εξάρχεια, ένα κατάστημα με είδη για σεφ που όμως παρέχει και υπηρεσίες ακονίσματος με laser. Έχω δοκιμάσει στο παρελθόν παραδοσιακά τροχεία και δεν μπορώ να πω ότι το αποτέλεσμα ήταν το επιθυμητό. Ο Σταύρος μου έδειξε ένα μαχαίρι του ύστερα από ακόνισμα τους και αποφάσισα να τους πάω ένα δικό μου. Έμεινα πολύ ικανοποιημένος, με 5 ευρώ (και ελάχιστο stropping έπειτα στο εργαστήριο) η κόψη του μαχαιριού έχει τέλεια κλίση (bevel), ομοιόμορφο ακόνισμα και ρεφελάρει υπέροχα.
Ιδανικό επίσης για καινούρια μαχαίρια που συχνά φτάνουν με πρόχειρο ακόνισμα ή κακό bevel από τον κατασκευαστή.
ΔΙΕΥΘ – Εμμ. Μπενάκη 17 Εξάρχεια  ΤΗΛ- 2103837140

2) Εξοπλισμός – είδη βιβλιοδεσίας Φραγκιουδάκης Omnia Libris
Οικογενειακή επιχείρηση με χρόνια στο χώρο. Φτιάχνουν πρεσάκια, τεζάκια για ράψιμο αλλά και την εντυπωσιακή 7σε1 πρέσα βιβλιοδεσίας (πρακτικά ένα εργαστήριο βιβλιοδεσίας σε ένα πολυμηχάνημα). Διαθέτουν επίσης μαρμαρόκολλες, χαρτιά και υφάσματα βιβλιοδεσίας κ.α.
ΔΙΕΥΘ- Αγίου Παντελεήμονος 7  ΤΗΛ- 2108140481

3) Είδη βιβλιοδεσίας  Γάτος Α.Ε. Coverboard
Στη μέση του πουθενά, όπου φτάνετε και έπειτα οδηγείτε για κάνα τέταρτο ακόμη, βρίσκεται η τεράστια αυτή αποθήκη με είδη βιβλιοδεσίας. Παρότι τα περισσότερα απ’όσα διαθέτει αφορούν την βιβλιοδεσία σε μεγάλη/παραγωγική κλίμακα, θα βρείτε διάφορα χρήσιμα πράγματα όπως δέρματα τα οποία προμηθεύονται από τον Μερινόπουλο. Εάν θέλετε 1-2 τομάρια, λίγο foil, χαρτόνι, μερικά μέτρα βιβλιοδετικού υφάσματος και τέλλα αξίζει να πάτε ως εκεί.
ΔΙΕΥΘ- Λυσία 34 Περιστέρι  ΤΗΛ- 2105748456

Όπως είναι λογικό υπάρχουν αρκετοί ακόμη που δεν συμπεριέλαβα στο άρθρο για να παραμείνει σχετικά σύντομο και ευανάγνωστο, αλλά και επειδή έχουν πολύ εξειδικευμένα πράγματα. Αν ψάχνετε κάτι συγκεκριμένο που δεν βλέπετε εδώ τότε μη διστάσετε να επικοινωνήσετε μαζί μου για κάποια πρόταση.

Limited edition tools and Stylus Giveaway

Tags

, , , , ,

Limited edition tools 1 - Dimitri's bookbinding cornerGiveaway details at the bottom of the post!

You love tools… I know you do. Yes, You the craftsman who is reading this post, it doesn’t matter if you’re a bookbinder or not. I know you spend hours browsing fancy tools on pinterest, taking sneak peaks at other peoples’ equipment at their FB page and occasionally drool over vintage pieces. You love their colors, their texture, so much potential… You even betray your loving craft on occasion and stare at tools belonging to other crafts… But I’m not the one to blame you, no, no. In fact I’m exactly like you…

The idea for a special limited edition of tools with hardwood handles has been in the works for some time now. In modern times we constantly strive to create everything from a practical point of view, function over form. But function alone does not suffice, life is not just function. It seems as if we have forgotten how to imbue the objects surrounding us with beauty. I quote what is written at a wonderful tool museum (do visit it if you find yourself) in Athens;

“Because they want the tools they make, to be beautiful besides useful. They want them to say who made them and who used them”

Limited edition tools 2b - Dimitri's bookbinding cornerBeing a craftsman means spending a lifetime among tools. Their purpose is to aid the artisan in his work, but who said there’s only one way to do so… Our tools, our companions in the crafting journey, should be unique, not only as a result of the connection we create with them but also because they have their own personality. As said by the anonymous writer “they want them to say who made them and who used them”. Isn’t that for a tool as close to being alive as it can get?

The tools presented are a limited edition, meaning there’s only one of each kind with the exception of the Padauk stylus sets. The handles have been crafted skillfully by Antonis the woodworker using the much appraised designs me and him came up with. A high polish has been performed without the addition of luster or polishes.

Wenge typeholder - Dimitri's Bookbinding cornerVersatile Typeholder with Wenge handle.
Wenge is an African hardwood. It comes from countries such as Congo, Tanzania and Cameroon and is extremely resilient to wear, decay and insect attacks. Antonis actually said about working for this piece and I quote “it felt as if turning iron!”. Later on he also commented “whoever buys this will actually be creating a heirloom”. And I’d like to to think so; brass is a timeless material that ages well and resists corrosion superbly and Wenge is a wood noted for its endurance and beauty. The combination of the two has given a tool that will last you a lifetime, and a couple more for sure!

The Versatile Typeholder is ideal for tooling single letters whenever needed. Check out the original entry for the Typeholder to learn more about its use.

Price at 150 euros. (Contact me if you’re interested)

Padauk BFM - Dimitri's bookbinding cornerBookbinding Finishing Multitool (BFM) with Padauk handle.
Padauk is a hardwood originating from central and tropical west Africa but can also be found in Myanmar and Thailand. The wood database mentions that it “has excellent decay resistance and is rated durable to very durable”. Its vivid red color (Padauk is sometimes called Vermillion because of it) gradually turns to a deeper reddish-brown tone as years pass by, though small exposure to sunlight can prolong the process. I find the aged version even more attractive if you ask me!

The Bookbinding Finishing Multitool’s basic set is an ideal starting kit for those interested to venture in classic decoration techniques. It includes 15 interchangeable decorative heads that enable the binder through combined use to perform a multitude of designs, from simple to elaborate. Read the original entry on the BFM to learn more about its features.

Price at 200 euros. (Contact me if you’re interested)
Amboyna typeholder - Dimitri's bookbinding cornerVersatile Typeholder with Amboyna Burr handle.
Amboyna is not actually a distinct species but rather how the burl formation of specific trees is called. A burr (or burl) is formed when a tree undergoes some kind of stress such as injury, a virus or a fungus, leading to the irregular development of its grain. That “irregularity” creates intricate patterns or color variations within burls and Amboyna is the most expensive and sought after kind. Apart from its charming appearance the Amboyna is very durable and shows excellent decay resistance.

The Versatile Typeholder is ideal for tooling single letters whenever needed. Check out the original entry for the Typeholder to learn more about its use.

Price at 150 euros. (Contact me if you’re interested)

Cocobolo stylus - Dimitri's bookbinding cornerBookbinding stylus with elaborate Cocobolo handle.
Coming from central America Cocobolo is renown for its hardness and beautiful color, most commonly streaks of dark brown (or black) and red. Used in a variety of objects, from pool cues to pens, from inlay work to full musical instruments, Cocobolo is an expensive and prized hardwood. Due to is natural oils it shows outstanding resistance to degrade caused by humid/dry cycles and is rated as extremely durable.

I combined the straight Stylus with the elaborate (and also revised) handle design for this unique piece. The Stylus tool gives you the ability to decorate your bound books “freehand”, your imagination (and maybe your gas tank’s capacity!) is the only limit. Keep in mind that you can always alter/modify the Stylus’ end to the sharpness of your liking. Read the original entry on my Stylus set to see the advantages such a tool offers.

Price at 60 euros. (Contact me if you’re interested)

Padauk Stylus set - Dimitri's bookbinding cornerStylus set with Padauk handles.
I’ve managed to provide you with 2 Stylus sets in handles made from this beautiful hardwood. A great addition to any bindery, this Stylus set considerably expands your tooling options while also making an aesthetical statement. Make those colleagues jealous!

Price at 80 euros. Two sets available. (Contact me if you’re interested)

Wenge stylus - Dimitri's bookbinding cornerGIVEAWAY! Bookbinding stylus with Wenge handle.
You can have this one for free! Yup, you heard me! All you have to do is head over to the blog’s Facebook page, SHARE and like the corresponding post and answer a question. The winner will be chosen at random on Sunday the 15th of February. Good luck everyone!

Don Quixote bindings – Βιβλιοδεσίες για το Δον Κιχώτη

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

This is the last commission for 2014; Two full leather design bindings of Don Quixote.

Don Quixote Volumes 1 and 2 - Dimitri's Bookbinding cornerΔον Κιχώτης από τις εκδόσεις Εξάντας. Καλλιτεχνικές βιβλιοδεσίες όλο δέρμα βαμμένο στο χέρι και με αερογράφο. Χειροποίητα εσώφυλλα και κεφαλάρια ραμμένα στο χέρι με μεταξωτή κλωστή. Διακόσμηση στο χέρι βασισμένη σε σχέδια του Νταλί.

Miss R -the client behind this commission- was very interested in the binding process and we discussed about the various details that lead to the creation of a bound book. At the end it was agreed to make two case bindings but spiced up a bit with some of the elements usually found in fine french leather bindings.

Don Quixote Green covers - Dimitri's Bookbinding cornerDon Quixote Spines - Dimitri's Bookbinding cornerThere was a lot of thought devoted to the visual outcome. Miss R. liked my binding of Eliot and its color palette, however I prefer to avoid replicating bindings I’ve made in the past so I proposed this design to satisfy my client but also give the books a unique identity, aiming at a special aesthetic result when the two volumes sit on a shelf.

The decoration was a major issue. This Greek edition (now out of print) is, apart from very thorough, full of Dali’s sketches and paintings about the story of Don Quixote. I pondered on what should the covers look like and finally decided it would be futile to try and compete with Dali by making a design of my own, whatever that may be. So the most obvious and reasonable approach was to give Dali the spotlight by reproducing some of his sketches.

Don Quixote Endleaves - Dimitri's Bookbinding cornerThe leather had to be dyed in 3 separate stages. First I dyed the green sides because even if I did some slight mistake later it wouldn’t show on the much darker green. Everything went smoothly in the end but hey, better safe than sorry right? Then I dyed the other half of each leather with a light yellow to use as a base color for the airbrushing. When this dried I covered the leathers and brought out my trusty airbrush. I’ve posted a picture of before and (almost) after for you to get an idea. Airbrushing leather is great fun and opens a world of coloring possibilities and techniques. I’ve only tried it a few times and must definitely find time to do some serious/crazy experimenting!

Airbrushing leatherOnly downside is that when you use an airbrush the dyes don’t really penetrate the leather, instead they just “sit” on the surface, so a thorough coating with a sealer afterwards is a must.

Don Quixote Headband - Dimitri's Bookbinding cornerTo give the books a bit of a luxurious touch I sewed headbands with silk thread and used handmade marble paper for the endleaves. I also did some simple tooling on the leather headcaps and my-oh-my it does add character!

To create this binding I used my Stylus set, my Bookbinding Finishing Multitool and my Versatile typeholder.

Lots of work but it has been a pleasure binding these two volumes, quite happy with the result. Hope you liked them as well!

With this post I’d like to wish everyone Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year!

Don Quixote Flat - Dimitri's Bookbinding corner

Ode to simplicity – Ωδή στην απλότητα

Tags

, , , , ,

Joseph ZaehnsdorfBy Joseph Zaehnsdorf.

Για να διαβάσετε το άρθρο στα ελληνικά (to read in Greek) πηγαίνετε στο τέλος της ανάρτησης.

We are accustomed, even addicted one could say, to being impressed. A great deal of the things surrounding us are designed to be eye-catching. If they aren’t our mind ignores them and doesn’t progress in further observation, probably rightfully so since we are always bombarded by tons of information.

Samuel Ellenport created 1998By Samuel Ellenport.

In order to be eye-catching a visual stimulus usually includes a plethora of colors, geometrical shapes that are easily recognized subconsciously (the human brain constantly searches for standard patterns), depth through different layers and generally a multitude of information on many levels. All these combined create an overwhelming sense that registers the stimulus as interesting and pleasing.

By Devid EsslemontBy David Esslemont.

However, the bindings of this post aspire to please by appealing to the satisfaction granted by simple things; color, shape, texture. A singular vivid green, an intense grain that calls for our touch, simple lines and curves. Things we are drawn to by our very nature.

From Bauman Rare booksImage from Bauman Rare Books.

By focusing on those aspects bindings such as the ones you see here emit a kind of “honesty”, less is often more. Do not be deceived, the decorations of these bindings require exactly the same amount of skill needed for many of the lavishly adorned ones out there. Knowing so, a binder capable of producing an immaculate result may choose to prove it by opting for a minimalistic approach.

Of course there are also other reasons for doing so; the book’s content might call for such an approach, it might be the client’s preference, or it might be to show off the excellent quality of a material (leather, paper etc) or the beauty of a particular technique (calf marbling, special dyeing etc).

Binding by Kate HollandBy Kate Holland.

Although I can’t help but marvel when looking at the sumptuous creations of Sangorski and Sutcliffe (amongst my very favorites) I find something equally alluring in bindings such as the ones presented in this post. Because, while I consider astonishing being able to compose and accomplish a lavish design, I admire perhaps more the ability to arrest one’s feeling by strict simplicity. The skill of removing instead of adding, until only the bear essentials are left.

Of course I’m talking about cases where it was the artisan’s/artist’s intent to achieve simplicity, not when it is the outcome of lack of skill/experience or other restricting factors (unavailability of materials/equipment,  budget constraints, details dictated by the intended receiver etc).

I believe it is always beneficial to devote some effort in appreciating the simplicity of a creation, be it an art or an everyday object. There is a wholeness to be usually found there.

Douglas CockerellΓια το άρθρο στα ελληνικά:
Dimitri’s Bookbinding corner – Ωδή στην απλότητα

Binding on the right by Douglas Cockerell.

Small journals and Christmas giveaway!

Tags

, , , , , , ,

It’s not always “grand and glorious”, sometimes it’s all about small and simple!
I’ve been preparing, among other things, a number of travel-size journals. Most of them are made from hand-dyed leather and genuine marbled paper. Combining hardcover and longstitch techniques the result is a practical journal that is sturdy enough yet it can open completely flat.

All of them available at my Etsy Shop The Bookbinder’s Bench.

Small journals by Dimitri's Bookbinding corner 1Also, don’t forget to take part in my Christmas giveaway at the blog’s Facebook page. Who waits for that creepy stalker Santa Claus? I don’t care if you’ve been naughty or nice, everyone gets a chance to win a lovely journal just in time for Christmas!
All you have to do is Like and Share the corresponding post at FB and comment on the giveaway question! The winner will be chosen at random on the 25th of November. Good luck!

Small journals by Dimitri's Bookbinding corner 2Small journals by Dimitri's Bookbinding corner 3

Let’s talk about paring and knives

Tags

, , ,

Two lovely old ladies who used to do bookbinding as a hobby decided to give me what tools and materials they had left (thanks!). Among these was a french paring knife which, although quite plain, caught my attention.  Realizing my paring knives have amounted to 6 with this later addition I decided to make the knife post I’ve been thinking about for some time!

bevelled-leather by Juliayn Coleman1Juliayn Coleman testing a Peachey knife

 Firstly dear (non crafting) readers, allow me to explain why all craftsmen get fascinated with trade tools. It’s because they are our most prized possessions. As years come and go a craftsman might set up shop in a dozen different locations, he will work with materials of quality and others that are horrible, he’ll try countless techniques in his effort to evolve and become better. However, in the long course of an artisan’s life the point of reference, the one thing that stays more or less the same, will always be the tools of the trade. Tools are the extension of his hand, the means by which skill is transformed into something tangible day after day, until they become understood and loved. As the craftsman gets older so do his tools which, through continuous use, mastering and modifying, come to store and express his experience. He knows how each of them behaves, what it needs to stay in good shape, in which task it performs best. In a sense they are not just tools, they are companions…
 This romanticized, but I believe true to its core, explanation should give you a good idea about why we usually make such a fuss about our tools! Just read what Sarah of Big jump press did to some poor bystanders when her eye spotted an old divider! We’re 100% with you Sarah, no regrets!

paring action by Jana PullmanSo, what the heck is paring and why is it so important that binders have to own so many different knives for it?
Paring is when a leather is thinned down by slicing away strips, as shown in the picture on the right by Jana Pullman. That can happen for various reasons, one of the most common in bookbinding being the gradual thinning of the margins on the cover piece to make the turn-ins smoother. Paring is a world on its own and one of the many skills a binder must master to produce fine work.

Paring can be done with the help of mechanical devices like the Scharf-fix or the Brockman which I happily own. These have a razor blade that can be set in various angles and when the leather is pulled beneath it long skivers are shaved off thus reducing its thickness. It is a fast and efficient way of paring but it still needs a great amount of control and there are certain issues/restrictions in its use.

Paring with a knife offers a tremendous amount of control leading to much more satisfying results. The leather doesn’t get outstretched and lose shape as is the case some times with paring machines. With careful and steady handling of the knife it is less likely to tear or slice through the leather. Also, a paring machine doesn’t adjust to changes in the behavior of the leather. Some parts may have bumps or imperfections, be stretchier or stiffer, very hard or very soft but you can only pull it through. With the knife you have the ability of adjusting pressure, angle and depth constantly during paring action. And last but not least there are parts that you simply can’t pare using a paring machine, like the spine for a french binding.

It is not difficult to understand why paring with a knife has stayed the same for so many centuries. However all these benefits come at a price; mastering how to knife-pare takes time and it is not the easiest thing in bookbinding. I remember it took me one year and a lot of wasted leathers to start producing decent results, at least according to my standards. I’ve reached a good level since then but paring is one of those things that you never stop learning. And there’s always a rewarding sense of accomplishment to be felt after a leather has been properly and smoothly pared (by the way, I’ve been told that all these sound creepy and psychotic when out of context…!). I now pare with knives in 90% of the cases and use the Brockman complimentary or when I need to make leather joints, labels or onlays.

Where can we read more?
-To be able to pare with a knife one needs to be familiar with its needs and uses. Creating a sharp edge and maintaining it is of paramount importance and requires skill on its own. Jeff Peachey is renowned for his paring knives and his knowledge on their treatment. He gives ample information on how to sharpen your knife effectively and keep it so by stropping.

– Jana Pullman, well known binder and instructor at the Center of Book Arts in Minnesota, writes about paring and knives here. “Besides, you can never have too many knives”, well said indeed!

MHR's custom Japanese steel paring knives-MHR of Bookbinder’s chronicle, always skilled and knowledgeable, also has a nice post regarding paring. Check the comments as well! Here’s a picture of her custom knives made from traditional Japanese steel. Want!

– Juliayn Coleman of Book Island gets some steel in shape for her students in this post.

– Roger Grech of Papercut Bindery gives a step by step description of the paring process in his post here.

V for books- Lundahl's custom paring knife-E. Lundahl of V for books shares in this post the details of making a DIY paring knife. Love the melt brass detail, gives the knife personality!

Last but not least, in a first ever and exclusive appearance, the ensemble of DK’s paring knives!

DK's paring knives ensembleFrom left to right;

1) English knife from Hewit and the first I ever had. Very affordable and performs quite well, I keep it a bit less sharp and use it as “heavy duty” nowadays.

2-3) An english and french knife from Schemdt. Some bookbinders had lend me two Schemdt knives in the past and I thought to order a pair for myself. First of all I must mention that I ordered two english knives apart from the french (one for a bookbinding friend) and they arrived with a very crude bevel, basic stock removal (it was evident from the marks) in angled fashion. That meant I had to go to a grinder shop, pay and indicate the angle I needed. Then there was a lot of hand sharpening needed to be done at the bindery. All these were a lot of trouble, more than I expect when I order such a tool, especially since its not a matter of modification but simply making it fit for work. In any case it performs well although it tends to lose sharpness a bit easily. I use it for regular work.

DK's custom english paring knife4) It is always very useful to be able to create basic tools for your craft and bookbinding is no exception to that rule.  Almost a year ago I came by a piece of industrial saw steel, which was of good quality according to 2 people I trust, and decided to give it a go. Not dissapointed! The result was an extremely sharp blade that keeps its edge and has exactly the dimensions I prefer. Its only downside is it being a bit temperamental when it comes to sharpening. I use it mainly for fine work.

5) The french knife I was given recently. It bears no maker’s mark. I had never worked with this type of paring knife before (the mix of straight and curved edge). I gave it just a slight resharpening and stropping and was astonished at how well it pared. I feel I’m gonna love working this type of edge and can’t wait to see its performance after a serious sharpening.

6) A leatherworking knife that I have used extensively in bookbinding as well. Used to be my substitute for a french knife and did its job excellently albeit its double bevel. The great width of the blade made its use uncomfortable at times but it made up for it by allowing to pare for much longer by using different parts of the curve until stropping or resharpening was needed.

That’s all folks, cheers!

Georges Simenon – The man who watched trains go by

Tags

, , , , , ,

George SimenonA recent commission, “The man who watched trains go by” by Georges Simenon in Greek translation. Case binding with handmade leather endbands.

I had a somewhat restrictive timeframe for this binding which, along with some other reasons, led to this linear design with simple onlay work. To spice it up a bit I added a few details abstractly hinting at the story; the red onlays and the uneven rail lines are a loose metaphor on the main character’s alteration as the story progresses.

I’ve already written about my affiliation for quirky titles in previous posts. Since I was to tool a ridiculously long title on such a small sized book (hear that writers out there? Keep your titles short dammit!) I decided to incorporate it in the design. The leather was feeling a bit rebellious about that part but my typeholder had a different opinion. Well, guess who won…

The decoration of this binding was made using the Versatile typeholder, Bookbinding Finishing Multitool and line rollers.

Has anyone seen the film adaptation? Any good?

Facebook Page and Etsy shop

Tags

, , , ,

Good news everyone!

Here’s two things that are long overdue;First, I’ve opened an etsy shop called The Bookbinder’s Bench, where you will find handmade bindings and tools. Spread the word!
One of the perks of buying tools from my Etsy shop is that I’ll be listing tools that are in stock and thus require a few to even zero days before they are shipped!

etsydSecond, Dimitri’s bookbinding corner has now a Facebook page! Stop by, like, share, follow and stay updated with both the blog and what becomes available at the etsy shop!

Dimitri's B.C.Byron 1To mark the occasion I’ve made 3 journals;
The Byron, a luxurious antiqued journal
The classic, a frugal french quarter leather binding
The vintage, a case quarter binding
Enjoy!