Slow progress, but progress nontheless! I reached an exciting stage today:
What you see there are two text-blocks nearly ready for casing-in! Casing-in is the process of putting the cover on a book. Once the cover’s on, it dries overnight in the bookpress and then is basically complete unless I want to do something fancy like KwikPrint a title on the cover or something.
Slower today than yesterday, not sure what’s up with that. 3:38 all to fold, punch, and sew two text blocks! Crazy. But then, it’s the end of the week, and I’m pretty beat. *yawn*
One looming issue: I have enough text paper left to do four more text blocks, and more paper won’t get here until Tuesday. Grr! I haven’t decided what to do about that yet. My preferred text paper is almost impossible to get at local stores. 🙁
Progress: Four books 1/3 done, minor prep work for other books done.
So! Today is the first day of my crazypants project, National Book Binding Month! Goal: Bind 30 books in 30 days.
Here’s what I started with today:
I have more supplies on their way (text paper and bookcloth, mostly), but this is most of it.
After 2:38 of work (yes, I clocked it), I have all the endpapers cut up (and the knowledge that I need to buy more endpaper paper, because boy howdy did I miscalculate how much I need!) and two text blocks sewn! Hot diggety!
Progress: 2 books 1/3 of the way done, minor prep work for other books.
While I’ve been running silent on the blog, I’ve been cooking up some seriously exciting stuff!
I’m gearing up to start selling my blank books wholesale — working with a designer (the fantabulous Richard Miller of Calyx Design, go hire that man and tell him I sent you, he’s amazing!), choosing a range of papers and cloths, the works.
And, most importantly: I’ve been planning how best to build up stock. I need a blitz of bookbinding, I realized — and what better time to have a blitz than November, the time of National Novel Writing Month?
I spent ten years doing NaNoWriMo every November, and while I’ve pretty much outgrown it, I miss the fall frenzy of activity. So this year, I’m binding books instead of writing words.
This November, I will bind 30 hardbound, medium-sized blank journals between 12:01am November 1st and 11:59 November 30th. I’ll chronicle my doings here, as well as possibly finishing off the half-dozen or so draft posts I have kicking around.
I just got back from a week in Portland. It was awesome. (You know you wanna see my vacation pix.)
As usual, it involved multiple trips to Powell’s. Also, my first ever purchases from the Rare Book Room and the locked case in the Gold Room (which is Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi/Mystery)! SO exciting.
I simply cannot articulate my adoration for Powell’s City of Books (there are several satellite stores, but the CoB is the main one, and the one most folks, including me, mean when they refer to Powell’s). It’s enormous. It has used and new books shelved together so you can see what your options are. It has all kinds of weird and rare books, and a really nifty cafe where you can take books you’re thinking about buying and look them over while you sip an Italian soda or nibble a pannini. Bliss.
Here’s my haul for this year:
And a shot of my lovely first editions’ covers:
This trip is why I saved my spare change (and a few bucks here and there) all year long. Getting $100 in a raffly thing at work didn’t hurt, either. 🙂
I’m a big fan of the scientific method, so when I heard that one way to save a book that’s been dropped in water was to toss it in a self-defrosting freezer, I had to check it out for myself.
It’s like magic!
The idea is that the water will freeze and the sublime (like evaporating, but from solid to vapor instead of liquid to vapor) the same way your ice cubes do if you don’t use ’em. The book gets left behind in almost good-as-new condition. Apparently libraries use it after flooding and whatnot. Pretty cool, eh? Apparently it takes several months, is the only tricky part.
But it’s HERESY!
The tricky bit, of course, is that this involves risking the wellbeing of a book. Getting a book wet is anathema to me, but this is for a greater good, right? Fortunately, I just tossed aside a book I couldn’t stand and was going to sell it or something. I decided rather than inflict it on someone else, I would use it for this experiment.
Before anyone gets up in arms, yes, I know there are people who love this book. I hated it. It happens. Especially when a book is froofy philosophy without any real logic or decent reasoning underlying it. GRAH! I love philosophy but only when it actually makes sense. Since the vast majority of philosophy is of the sort that makes me bang my head against the wall, I wisely majored in English instead of paying attention to my philosophy prof’s urgings.
Here are the before and after photos of the book. I got it wet by dunking it in a full sink of water on 4/23.
Every so often, I get to visit Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon. When I was little, I always asked my parents to buy me issues of Asterix the Gaul that I didn’t already own. Now, I buy my own books, and endeavor not to bankrupt myself in the process.
The last time I was there, I got so many books that I could barely fit them all into the generously-sized baskets they provide their shoppers. The clerk said, as she rang me up, “you’re not from around here, are you?” When I said no, she said that she could always tell — it was the visitors who bought heaps of books, not the locals. “It’s almost like it’s a pilgrimage,” she said.
In a lot of ways, it is. For a gatherer, Powell’s City of Books is a sort of Mecca. Check out this map (pdf) and you’ll see why – over a million books are on the shelves. The place takes up an entire city block! What makes it particularly exciting to browse there is that used books are shelved right alongside new ones. You never know what treasures you’re going to find. I’ve snapped up reasonably-priced, good-condition copies of out-of-print books I never thought I’d get my hands on, sitting quietly next to the latest trade paperback. Plus, there’s the Rare Book Room, which is the sort of collection that inspires hushed reverence from book collectors. I’ve seen some amazing things up there — not that I could afford any of them, but man. Getting to see them was almost as awesome.
I’m going to be going there again next month, and I can’t wait!
This is probably a symptom of my bibliomania — after all, I haven’t finished reading the books I bought last year! But even so, it’s hard not to feel a thrill at the thought of tracking down rare books I don’t have yet. I’ve started making a little list of things to look for when I’m there, and looking eagerly at the money I’ve been saving the last few months. I’ve even got a count-down widget on my smartphone (34 days!).