Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Piercing signatures

I have found a bit of an alternative way to pierce signatures. I read about sawing the holes from the outside in one of Kevin Smith's books. This method vs. the inside piercing works out well for me. It has greatly improved my accuracy. No more wonky piercing stations!

Kevin Smith's instructions involved using a hack saw... seriously... a Hack saw! This seemed a bit extreme to me. This is like cutting a sapling with a chain saw... can you say overkill! I scaled it back a tad. I use a jeweler's saw. I happen to have several from my goldsmithing days. Even if you are not a jeweler these are very handy things to have around. I have used mine for all types of projects including , in a pinch, cutting down a Christmas tree.
The trick is to use the saw to "mark" the piercing hole. You don't need to go all the way through. If you do cut through all of the signature the hole will be elongated and will rip easily when you are sewing the book. Use a traditional awl to finish the hole from the outside of the signature.

Saw Frame Jewelers Adjustable Metalsmith Wood Hand Tool
Jeweler's adjustable saw frame

Words to live by

swissmiss: "Start brave and brash: you can always make things more conservative, but it’s hard to make things more radical.

Everyone is just making it up as they go along."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cutting book board: tools

Cheap & Eco-friendly Book Board! Woot!

Cutting book Board can be a real pain in the ass. When I started making books I bought the expensive Davey board. The full sheets of  board were kind of unwieldy in my micro-studio space. My alternative was to use pre-loved book board. It really is not hard to find old books that are past their useful life. Typically I use children's books from Goodwill. They are usually over sized  and thicker then store bought board. I use the insides as scrap/glue paper, so pretty much all of the book is re-used in some way.  Using the more eco-friendly board makes me feel a bit kinder to the planet.  Avoid any books with a glossy coating, unless you want to spend a ton of time sanding so your glue will stick.

When cutting board there are 3 tools that you (IMHO) can not be without.
- A good sized self-healing cutting mat. I have a few because I am not so careful with these.
- A 45mm  rotary cutter. They come larger and smaller, but the 45mm seems to fit the job just right. I always keep mine at hands reach. It is probably the most used tool on my desk. Blades for these cutter are fairly expensive, but they last a long time and can be sharpened.
- The last requirement is a clear  O'Lipfa ruler. This little jem has a turned down lip that acts as a t-square. I think they are designed for quilters. I use painters tape stuck all over the clear ruler to mark repeated cuts and to jot down measurements. My ruler looks kind of tragic with all of the notes on it, but it is seriously damn handy. Slap a piece of Velcro on it and stick it to the side of your work space to keep it accessible yet out of the way

Here is the lip on the O'Lipfa ruler. Sorry for the crappy shot. It's rather difficult to photograph clear objects.

O'lipfa Ruler With Lip Edge-18 Inch X5 InchFiskars 95217097 45 mm Rotary CutterFiskars 95287097 45mm Rotary Staight Blade 5-PackGridded Cutting Mat