You know, I was gonna have more to share today, images and all, with more work done and all. Funny thing is, there’s this thing called “life” and sometimes it’s really inconvenient and gets in the way of all the fun stuff you wanna do. So this’ll be a little light today, but hopefully next week, I’ll have more to share.
What you’re looking at here is me doing a grain test on the two newest papers I have to work with. What I’m doing is wetting the edges to see which direction the grain goes, which it runs perpendicular to the edge that curls when wet. Normally a grain test can be done just by flexing the paper in your hands, to see which side direction flexes easier than the other, but since both papers are 20lb (about as thin as printing paper gets), there’s not enough substance there to get a good feel for flexing. So I have to resort to the water test. The grain is important, because you want the paper to be folded along the grain, to be bound along the grain, to have the grain match up with your coverboards, etc. all to allow the paper to flex with minimal strain when in use as well as to “breathe” with changing levels of temperature and humidity over time.
I kind of love and hate both these papers. The white one, is actually pretty awesome. It’s a 25% cotton, 20lb business paper with a real nice texture that’s on both sides, which is great. A lot of the time with business papers, especially if they’re linen or laid textured, the texture is only on the front face of the paper and the back face has a non-matching, often smooth texture. This stuff though? It’s pretty sweet. There’s 500 sheets in the box, so if I cut the papers in half, that gives me 4000 pages to work with (minus the paper I mess up and end up using as scrap). Overall, it’s really nice. The only downside to this paper are the obnoxious watermarks on every sheet, which I’ll show you in a second.
The brown paper? I also like. Mostly. It’s got a good visual texture and each sheet is different because there’s all sorts of inclusions in the paper, little specks. Unfortunately, when I got it, I was kind of hoping it’d have a texture similar to paper bags, because it’s supposed to be “kraft paper.” However, it’s as smooth as regular printing paper, so that real nice physical texture I was hoping for just isn’t there. But, it’s paper, it’s unique, and I’m still gonna use it. I have 200 sheets of these, so all cut up and all, I’m gonna get 800 pages out of these bad boys.
Here’s the business paper where I outlined where the watermark is. This is a full, 8.5x11 sheet of paper. As you can tell, it takes up a lot of space. If it’s obnoxious as a full sheet, I can only imagine it’s gonna be even worse when I cut the sheets down to 8.5x5.5.
. . . yeah. No me gusta.
So the day I took these pictures, I did a bunch of cutting. Then I folded. And folded. And folded. And folded. Which sounds tedious, because it is, but kind of like sewing, it’s also really relaxing. Eventually, after a lot of folding, I end up with stacks of paper like this.
Each section consists of four sheets, which have four sides, so there’s sixteen pages to a section. Put anywhere between eight to twelve sections in a book, and you have a lot of blank pages to work with. I did a bunch of punching and sewing, putting together text blocks to be bound. I didn’t take any pictures, because I was too in the zone. But the end results end up looking like this . . .
Which is fun and all. I’m running into a bit of a snag though, in that I have about a dozen or so text blocks full of blank pages that still need to be cased into books and by the time I’m done with this paper, I’ll have another dozen or so. I’m running out of people to give journals too. I’m legit half thinking of making a little box, writing “Free Journals! Please Take Only One and Enjoy” on it, and dropping it off on a college campus or library or something somewhere. I don’t know if there’d be any takers though.
Anyhow, a while back I was thinking about buying cheap paperbacks and rebinding them using the double fan binding method. The problem is, I lack the proper workspace to hold the proper tools I need to do such a thing. Even worse is though, double fan binding, while better than plain old perfect binding, still isn’t the sturdiest way to bind books, so they’re gonna eventually fall apart with use.
So what I’ve been thinking about doing, is going onto places like Project Gutenberg or whatever, and downloading classic, public domain texts of books and stories I enjoy. There’s a few PDF programs out there where I can convert them into the proper layouts for printing them out, cutting them, and converting them into books. I could go that route. There’s a bit of an extra cost involved though so I don’t know. While it wouldn’t be super expensive, it would be more expensive than just buying plain old paperbacks and converting them to hard cover. But man, I tell you, sewn text blocks just hold up better. So I dunno.
Anyhow, that’s me this week. Keep making stuff, guys. I like seeing what you’re all doing.