Thursday, 29 January 2009

My latest project

Last November one of the men in my bookbinding group brought in some books from a popular series of poetry books published around the middle of the 20th century that collected together works by various popular Icelandic poets. They were originally available both hard-bound and in cheaper soft cover versions. Someone had been working on binding these books in hard covers but had died before finishing the task, and the widow or widower had asked the guy to take them to us and see of anyone wanted them. Since they were being given away and none of the others wanted them, I accepted, and got a total of 8 books. 5 already had covers and just needed headbands, spine-lining, hollow-back spines and finishing, and three also needed covers. The books are small and not very thick, so I decided it would be perfect to use the tail ends of the fish skins to cover the spines.

When the member of my bookbinding group cover books with fish leather, we do it a bit differently from when we use morocco. In partial leather bindings the leather is usually put on the boards before the paper, and the paper overlaps the leather a little when glued down onto the boards. This method can be used with fish leather, but we all like the naturally irregular and scalloped edges of fish leather, so we often begin with the paper and apply the fish leather over it, to preserve the natural look of the leather edges. These are often quarter bindings, i.e. only the spine and small part of the sides are covered with the leather and the rest is all paper, including the corners. This is what I am doing with these books. They are not going to be read or even handled much, and so I don’t think they will need leather corners. Here are the first two that I have finished:

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The leather in both cases is spotted wolf-fish, and the paper is scrapbook paper. Each book will have a different coloured spine and paper covering.