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[personal profile] dendritejungle
You know, last week just pretty much sucked and I'm bloody sick of renovation blather, so let me tell you about what I *am* excited about right now: the miniature bookbinding course I took this past weekend! :D

I know that some people have been interested in the past about how this whole bookbinding thing works, so I've taken the time to put together a little picspam explanation of what, exactly, has gone into these babies.

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We started with a double-sided sheet that would ultimately be our textblock. It was written and formatted by our instructor.

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So we cut the sheet into pages and folded them in half...

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...before arranging them in signatures of three pages each. (Getting them in order with no page numbers took a bit of doing!)

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Next was marking where the holes needed to be...

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...so I could stitch the signatures together...

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...into two adorably tiny textblocks. *pinches their figurative cheeks*

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Next was using this freakin' ADORABLE little press along with a "plough", a device that shaves paper, to make the edges of the textblock all smooth and even.

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Like so! You can see a sample before (top edge) and after (fore-edge) of the beauty of the plough. (It's a fiddly little fucker, though, lemme tell you.)

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Ta-daaah! Two beautifully ploughed books. *coughifyoudon'tlooktoocloselycough*

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Next up, rounding and backing, the process of...well, making the spine round. Back in the little press goes the book!

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Now that the textblock is all set, it's time for the covers. Here they are, freshly cut and the edges closest to the spine properly bevelled (if you look closely).

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One book would be casebound in leather, and the other would have a simplified French style of binding. Here I cut the leather for the full leather case (in blue, wheee!)...

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...before paring it to get it super thin.

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How thin? Well, here's the before and after. The after (on the left) is thin enough that you can see the pores of the skin just below the surface of the leather.

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Some work later, the leather is folded around the boards and spine, and then "filled in" with some extra card and leather to keep the thickness of the leather from making the final product irregularly thick.

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In the meantime, we made some mini leather endbands (could they be any cuter?!?!) and infilled the rest of the spine with the extra leather for the same reason.

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After making the leather spine for the French casing...


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...we used the stamping press to create titles on the spines.

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After cleaning up the stamping a bit (here I'm scraping off a bit of excess gold)...

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...we rounded the leather spines themselves so they would fit nicely to the rounded textblocks.

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After attaching the decorative paper covers and spine for the French binding, we let that dry and turned out attention to...FINISHING. OMG FINISHING.

FINISHING IS SO FREAKIN' NERVE-WRACKING, GUYS. Sorry, to back up: "finishing" is applying the decorative tooling - here blind stamping (pressing a hot tool to imprint the leather), gold tooling (pressing a hot tool with gold foil to both imprint the leather and leave gold impressions) and onlay (literally laying extra, super-thin pieces of leather on) - to the otherwise finished book. And it's TRICKY. Because you have to create the same imprint again and again without SEEING where you're putting the tool because the $%^&!! gold foil is in the way. Which is VERY STRESSFUL if you've NEVER DONE IT BEFORE and don't want to, you know, WRECK WHAT YOU'VE JUST SPENT FOURTEEN HOURS WORKING ON.

WHICH I DID. The instructor fixed it the best he could, and I keep trying to tell myself it's a first time and relax, but it was pretty distressing. :( Anyway. So far no-one's noticed. I mean, it's freakin' GOLD TOOLING, BABY.

Anyway. Here's the blind tooling:
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Cutting out the onlay:
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...and prepping the surface to receive the onlay *coughwithmycrappygoldtoolinginevidencecough*
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Next was pasting the endsheets down to attach the case to the textblock:
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...and doing likewise on the French simplified binding:
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...and then pressing the hell out of them as they dry.
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The final step is burnishing, which creates a subtle but distictive sheen to the finished product as you can (maybe?) see here.
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Burnishing my baby...
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...until it's all shiny
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And my blue baby too.
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All done!
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