Saturday, December 27, 2014

Getting Back in Sight of the Track

As mentioned, we were all sick the week before the week before Christmas. During that week Ron made chainmail owls, Robin worked on miniatures, and I kinda flailed around. I got a couple books on Zen Cart, open-source shopping cart/e-commerce software. I got them for both MuseCon reasons and possibly putting a store on the Otter Necessities website. Unfortunately, the one endorsed as a manual by the group that "owns" Zen Cart is . . . poor. Haven't gotten very far with it. 

Last week we were still more or less off. Ron did some more chainmail, and I worked on knitting mittens.

Christmas day I finally started building the Lego Maersk Sealine container ship that I got for my birthday (yeah, back in May). I got the hull built, which is 1/2 to 1/3 of the project. I also started a chainmail pendant. Ron made chainmail pendants and a "glass caterpillar" bracelet with glass beads that were part of of his Christmas presents. 

Robin worked on miniatures. The dogs were underfoot, except when they were busy with their beef shank bones. 

This morning we ordered parts for chainmail owls. We got more "turkey" colored ones, in orange/bronze, and gold, black and silver, blue and silver, and ones that should look like snowy owls with silver and gunmetal, and mostly white wings with black lines. We got supplies for both big owls and little owlets in all the colors. 

This afternoon  I updated the MuseCon bookmarks and business cards, but didn't get them put on our personal webpage because Dreamweaver was not cooperating, and I decided it could wait for tomorrow, when Ron could help me (probably by hitting one or two buttons that I just didn't know where to find).

I considered working on my container ship some more, but decided to leave it for New Year's Day. 

I did, however, finally start messing about with bookbinding. I've been more or less resisting it for a couple/few years, especially after one of the leather suppliers I used to use semi-retired, and is now specializing in bookbinding leather. I got a book and some basic supplies about a year ago, and a finishing press and "pricking cradle" after ACen. 

The book I got is "Bookbinding, A Step-by-Step Guide", by Kathy Abbott, ISBN: 978-1-84797-153-1

The author is from Great Britian, so all the measurements are metric and paper is all in A sizes. But I can cope.  

I started out today with the most basic sewn binding, and mostly followed the instructions (other than working with non-A4 paper). The first deviation was on how to cut paper in half. The instructions are to crease the paper, then cut it a particular way. Several messe-up sheets of paper later, I cut it a different way, because there's more than one way to cut a piece of paper in half, dammit. The other deviation was an error on my part, and meant there's not quite as much margin along the front edges of the covers as the top and bottom edges.


The interior pages are some off-white generic printer paper. The cover is relatively inexpensive sturdy wrapping/decorative paper from Dick Blick, that's a 1900-ish map of San Francisco. The edges of the cover are just folded in, and its sewn with natural linen thread. It's a little bigger than a quarter-sheet of letter paper, which is the interior page size. 

Then I did another one, and kinda wandered off and did my own thing:

Same cover and interior paper and page size. This time I added an inner cover of cardstock, glued to the outer cover, and did two sets of stitching with brown waxed nylon thread, and put the knots on the inside. 

Both the linen and nylon thread were bought for leatherworking. The linen is a smidge heavier than called for in th ebook, but close enough. When I was at the local papercrafting store they tried to sell me a roll of "bookbinding" linen thread, and I narrowly avoided being rude. I did tell them that I had plenty at home, since I buy it by the pound for leatherworking (as opposed the little-bitty spools they had). The reaction was amusing. The nylon thread is probably a bookbinding abomination, but I don't really care,  

In the pictures above, I have the book(lets) sitting in the pricking cradle. Here's a shot of the second book in the pricking cradle, the way its actually used:

There's a slight gap down at the point of the vee formed two sides of the cradle. ou lay the parts to be stitched in with the vee shape of the cradle holding all the creases lined up nicely, and make your stitching holes with an awl. The pricking cradle is about the most basic piece of bookbinding equipment, after hand tools. The book I got has instructions to make one from heavy cardstock and fabric (for the vee), but the wooden one is nice. 

At the moment both books are in my bookbinding finishing press, the first one padded out with some cutting failures, since it has fewer pages and a thinner cover:
I've also got baking parchment between the pages and inner cover on the second book, in case of any glue oozing. 

Skill-wise I'm a ways from actually needing the finishing press. Today's booklets could just be pressed between boards with any convenient weight or woodworking clamps. But I decided to get the press, which is for doing real leather or fabric bindings of full-length books, with proper curved spines and everything, when Ron got the printing press, because I knew I'd want one eventually, and I had the funds. 

The equipment came from Affordable Binding Equipment, made by Mr. Jim Poelstra,  Mr. Poelstra's day job is doing custom cabinetry, and he makes his binding equipment from leftovers. It is very nice, and very nicely made. Hmm. Maybe my Mom's Christmas present to me will be a piece of equipment that falls between the pricking cradle and the finishing press. 

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