The last couple of months were very very busy for me, so I had no time to update my blog. However, I made some very interesting projects, and one of them is what I want to show you today.
The request was to make a huge scrapbook, as there were some special heirlooms to include that they were not to be “manipulated” but attached intact! “Yeah, ok… a scrapbook is a scrapbook, you say! How large could it be?” Well, the finished book was 50 x 60 cm (20” x23” appr), and I was unimpressed myself, until I saw the actual book taking shape!
I decided to use Dali paper, which is a great luxurious paper, but it is really heavy. I dedicated an 1 x3 m bench for this project only and begun the journey! I have never sewn such a large book - my previous record was a 40 x50 cm. Sewing proved to be a walking-around-the-bench process, but the book block turned out great! Until I made the dumpest decision to trim it with just an x-acto knife, a ruler and my bare hands! Oh yes, I did not managed to make a straigh edge, so I had to throw away the book block and start over the project! I have the discarded book block on my couch and I will do something with it someday! LOL
This time, I made some modifications to the design, like using the coptic stitch instead of sewing on tapes and reducing the signature to just 4 leaves. It was time consuming but the result was a really strong block and the most important: I could skip the trimming part! Apart that I would need a huge guillotine for trimming (my largest is 16”), the dimension of the paper was 1 x 0.70 meters, so for a book of 0.50 x 0.60 meters, I could not waste even 1mm!
The covers were made from 2.5mm book board, dressed with papyrus bark. I have an authentic paper lover supplier, so I was able to actually choose the bark as I needed two “matching” pieces for my covers and listen to an interesting lecture about the grand masters of the previous century!!
From then on, the procedure was as usual, except that nothing fitted in my presses and I did not have wooden boards of this size. A visit at the DIY store solved my problem, althought people were laughing when I told them why I needed the wood!
The covers were finally ready, and although I was finally happy with both the cover and the book block, I had not expected that the one would be so heavy and and the other difficult to manipulate! I reinforced the leather of spine with kraft-tex and decided to sew real headbands on the book.
Sewed headbands offer extra stability and character, but I could not position this huge book at usual headband sewing position. You should have seen me, sitting on a high stool with the book block sitting on foam pillows, trying to jungle the book, the leather piece and the two threads! After a lot of effort and some cursing, I managed to have “presentable” headbands. Not my best work, but they added the extra strenght the book block needed!
As I was approaching the deadlines and the final steps, I realized that the clasp and hinges were not to arrive on time. Fortunately, I had a backup plan and this was good, because the hardware arrived almost two months later! AND my backup was so much better that the original idea!
After pressing the book with my improvised weights for several days filled with anticipation and some maker’s dread for the outcome, my book was finished! I have to tell you - with all modesty (not)- that it turned out amazing! It is the largest book I have ever made, and believe me I have made some fairly large ones!
Can you spot the studio dog sitting behind me? He loves bookbinding and always steals leather and paper leftovers to play with!
The final challenge was to send it intact to the States. The book weighted 7 kgr by itself (almost 9 with the packing)! Fortunately my patron was very cooperative and we used a fast speed courier service, that costed a lot, but delivered my book intact!