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comment by applewood
applewood  ·  10 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 13, 2019

Here is a very small sample of some of the books I make. These are the best ones I currently have, but are by no means the best ones I’ve made. Like I told flac last week, when I make a really good book, I’m so excited about it, I can’t wait to give it away. I’m thinking about creating a post eventually, about how I make the majority of my books and why I go that route. It’s funny, because I’ve made so many of them the process seems pretty straightforward to me, but when I stop to think about all of the techniques I use and why I use them, I realize there’s quite a bit of stuff to explain.

In short, I made all of my books with as many natural and bio-degradable materials as possible. The only polymer based materials I intentionally use are PVA Glue and Acrylic Paint. I bind my books with the flat back binding method for two reasons, mostly because I don’t have the tools to do rounding and backing on my books, but also because the extra board on the spine means I don’t have to put headbands on my books if I don’t want to. The one drawback to that binding method is though, while the books open completely, they don't lay flat. It makes writing in them a bit awkward. So it's great for text blocks with pre-existing text already in them, but for journals and sketch books, not so much. When I create my own textblocks, I use linen book tape for reinforcement, french link stitch to help prevent vertical travel between signatures, and kettle stitch on the ends to keep everything nice and secure.

Here’s what a text block looks like by itself.

Here’s a close up of two different lino-cut stamps I’ve made for my books. I like lincocutting a lot. Partly because you can kind of get a woodcut print look out of it, without having to work as hard as you would carving a block of wood. Additionally, because linoleum is made from plant materials, it's biodegradable, which is a plus.

The paint for the dog is Liquitex Acrylic and the rooster on the right is Speedball Block Print Ink for Fabric. I’m not too happy with either. The Luquitex Acrylic, while it dries nice and quick, is really hard to get an even, consistent color out of. I use it though, because I know it’s acid free. I’m saving up some cash this month and I’m gonna buy a few tubes of Luquitex Soft Body Acrylic to see if that’s easier to work with. I’m assuming the answer will be yes. The Speedball Block Print Ink on the other hand, takes forever to dry. We’re talking days. Additionally, I can’t find any information as to whether or not it’s acid free, so there’s that as well.

These are just test prints for the two linocuts I’ve made so far. I’m thinking of buying a button making machine in the future, to turn these test prints into buttons. That way, they’re just not sitting on fabric going to waste.

So yeah. Bookbinding. That’s what I’ve been spending a lot of my free time learning and working on. I have three different projects down the road that I’m gonna try and document to share with you guys, but other than that, if you’re ever wondering what I’m doing with my free time and blowing my money on mindlessly, you’re looking at it.

Have a beautiful day guys.




Isherwood  ·  10 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This is super neat and it's interesting to hear about the component parts. Maybe I missed this, but why bookbinding at all?

applewood  ·  10 days ago  ·  link  ·  

So many reasons!

Firstly, I just love books. I don't mean just reading and collecting them, as actual objects I find them so beautiful. I love the variety of sizes and colors, the way they look on a shelf and the way they feel in my hands, and when you're holding a well made book you just know. I love seeing how printing techniques change over time and how those techniques can add to or detract from the quality of the book. I love paper, I love colors, I love art, and I love reading, and books take all of those individual components and somehow make them bigger and brighter and special.

I also love antiques, crafts, and folk art. Wood carvings, metal engravings, quilts, hand made furniture, on and on the list can go. I'm not very crafty though and some things take a lot of skill, know how, and often expensive tools to start. With books, the entry level cost is quite low and the initial learning curve starts out relatively low (but ramps up quickly the better you want to get and the more you want to learn and incorporate). While I wouldn't call my books "art," I would say I take a deliberate and artistic mindset when I'm making them. Coupled with the fact that there is learning and research and problem solving involved in figuring how to make a good, sturdy book that also looks nice, there's growth and satisfaction there.

Lastly, I tried to get a job in bookbinding, but unfortunately everyone that is hiring for that kind of thing requires degrees in stuff such as library science or art conservation or, for everyday publishers and manufacturers, there really isn't demand for traditional, handmade books. So I figured one day, if I really wanna make books, I should just make them on my own, because if I love them so much, why the heck not?

Isherwood  ·  10 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Oh man, now I love books. That enthusiasm is infectious!

Just reading through it, I was thinking about a big book we have that's the complete genealogy of our family going back to the 1600s. It's in fine shape now, but it's definitely something I would pay to have nicely and artistically bound, because I want it to last generations.

My gut says, if you could find a clean way to put Ancestry reports in a book, you would have a real business.

applewood  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Books are super easy to love. That we still have such a demand for physical books even with the internet and movies and games and all is a testament to how wonderful they are. :)

There are still a ton of traditional binders out there that would be more than able to help you out with that. Of course a lot of them do book restorations too, so if you ever have an heirloom Bible or something that you want repaired, they can do that for you as well.

I've thought a bit about binding stuff for other people. It's something I might definitely look into down the road. I don't think I'd be able to do something like an Ancestry Report, just because those are copyrighted, but I think if I ever come across a poet or an artist that wants to make maybe five or ten or twenty books, I could try and help them out. It would probably be a lot of fun and maybe a bit of a challenge.