I am worker 1 and I roped my partner Watkins into being worker 2. I go to work everyday, while he has binding opportunities at home. He is more of a paper artist, but has learned some bookbinding, and when it comes down to it, is much more finicky about it than I am.
We have to bind two editions of 15 or so books. It is printed on glossy/semi matte paper and 400 pages weighs quite a lot.
So we sew.
Yes we used a sewing frame each. Watkins, as a beginner sewed relatively loosely. I, as an intermediate binder, sewed relatively tighter than he. We did 6 each.
The paper we used was very slippery. The sections were six sheets. Was that too many? I couldn’t round mine. I went to my day job and left worker 2 to do the rounding. He rounded his with some ease; he tried one of mine and swore a lot.
So, as boss lady, I decided that we would back half of them. I rounded (finally) and backed one of my own, and it was hard work. It did not please me. Like, where where my 90o turns? Now let me be honest with you. I don’t actually do much binding. I don’t have time. If you follow my blog, you might have guessed that I only bind a few books a year. So even though I teach bookbinding, I don’t do much of it myself. BUt intellectually, I know what needs to be done. Those who can, do, those who can’t, teach….
I’m not being negative; I’m being realistic.
So, to get back to the production line.
I left Watkins in the bindery today to back his 6 books plus one of mine. This is the result:
Shirts neatly folded in his drawer. What does that say? He told me he had to leave the bindery before he chucked something on the wall.
It took him 5 hours to back 6 books. I had warned him that setting the book in the press would be difficult. He was cursing and swearing as the textblock moved about. He was cursing and swearing as the sections seemed to move of their own accord. I gave him this job because he can back far better than me; yes, he had done it before. But neither of us had experienced this paper. The lesson here is that if you have shiny, slippery paper, you will have a hell of a time backing it. Bookbinders out there, if you read this, please send me your advice!
You must admit that for a beginner, that’s pretty good. He was very hard on himself. As the Q & A person, yes I could find fault, but neither of us have the experience to make the perfect backing; we simply haven’t done enough of them.
I was sewing endbands last night:
See, I was crafty; I decided that if I couldn’t round the books, I’d just keep them straight. I don’t believe there is any shame in that. This is certainly a learning process.
- don’t use shiny paper
- check your sewing
- practise on something not important
- practise some more.
Any advice gratefully accepted. The books will look great at the end of the day, but their journey will have been long and painful.