ncharshaf handmade Adventures of a self taught bookbinder

22Nov/10Off

Tools of the trade

Recently, I have been hard at work on my new 2011 calendars which will debut this week. The calendars are all fabric hard cover notebooks, and the cover alone is a fairly time consuming task. However, I was making it much harder on myself by not having the right tools.

See, each cover starts with a piece of fabric, then I sew on a little date patch that has been printed on fabric using my home computer, measure and cut illustration board for the front and back cover, spray adhesive the fabric to the board, and then line the inside of the cover with paper. Then comes what used to be the most time consuming part, punching the holes on the cover and back for the string holes, and the elastic strap. Each book requires 12 holes to be punched, and then each hole gets an eyelet set into it.

Previously, all of my eyelet tools were too puny to get through 1 layer of paper, 2 layers of fabric, and illustration board. So, I resorted to this: my awl.

awl

Basically, I would punch through the cover, and push the awl all the way up to the ridges. This made the hole the correct size, but created a slew of problems on the other side. Because this was not punched, all the material that used to be there, just got mushroomed out. This lead to having to then take my utility knife, and shave down the hole....all 12 of them.

Yesterday, I got tired of this process, as I am making a large quantity of these books at a time. If I had any hopes of finishing, I needed a new solution.

Everyone, meet my new tool, the Crop o Dile!

I read the package, which stated that this thing could punch holes + set the eyelets at 1/8th" and 3/16" sizes in a variety of materials....paper, leather, plastic, metal, chipboard, acrylic, fabric, wood, etc. It does more stuff too, like grommets, but at this point I am not so much interested in that at this time. To top it off, it was 40% off, so I gladly put down $17.99 to take this beast home with me.

What I did not realize was that the blocks at the top and base of the tool actually pull out and rotate to gt different size and style settings, this is pretty cool, but slightly confusing. I did not even realize in the beginning that you did not use these to punch the holes. I did however finally find that there were two side pieces that were each responsible for hole punching.

After some testing (yay it punches through my material...and with ease!) I got to work. I am SO pleased with this tool, it does exactly what I need, and has probably tripled my production time of this step in the process, also it is a good forearm workout!

30Jun/10Off

75 Minutes to Hardcover Redemption

I have already talked about my first bookbinding experience and how lovely it was. I am so thankful for this first experience, because my second go at bookbinding was disastrous. I was in my advanced typography class, the third and final one in the series, and probably the class I had been most looking forward to my entire college career. The main focus of the class was to create an artist book. Basically this meant finding something we are really interested in, research it, find the content, and then produce it in a creative artistic way. In continuations of my love for bookbinding, I decided to create a hardcover notebook.

I had done some research, bought the supplies, but never practiced actually creating a hardcover book. When it came time to bind the book (the day of my final) things went from bad to worse real fast. The book fought me at every single step, and then fell completely apart when I tried to adhere the fabric cover to the board, and then the book to the cover. It was a wet sloppy mess that was barely holding together. I think I was about an hour late to my final at this point, and needed to just go to class and accept the wet, sticky, mess of a failure to my first experience with hardcover bookbinding.

So, fast forward a few years, and here I am, finally brave enough to try it again. Spoiler alert, there is a happy ending this time!

Delicate flower & bold polka dot hardcover notebook

These little pint sized books are a true labor of love. Although they are a lot of work, it is so rewarding to finally have some redemption.

Here is how in 10 steps, and 75 minutes I got my hardcover redemption.

Step 1: Fold paper into signatures - 10 minutes.

2. Punch holes in signatures to prepare for sewing: 5 min

Step 3: Sew book and apply cheesecloth to spine allowing for structure, while remaining flexible - 20 min

Step 4: Trim book - 10 min

5. Cut illustration board for 2 covers and 1 spine - 5 min

6. Adhere the fabric to the two covers - 10 min

7. Attach spine to cover - 5 min

8. Attach book to cover - 5 min

9. Glue end-papers to inside of book. - 5 min

10. All done!