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Archive for October 2009

Episode 37: The Big One

BigHand.jpgWhat we have here is the largest book ever made by myself here at Tedorigawa Bookmakers. It is hardbound with book boards about 1.5 mm thick and has about 200 pages, I think. 180? In that neighborhood.

It is A4 size (11 3/4" by 8 1/4" • 21cm by 29.8cm). The cover is made of an old piece of cloth I got at a flea market at a Buddhist temple. Buddhism had nothing to do with either the flea market or the cloth; I don't think. In any case, it was cheap but small - an odd size small - which finally fit perfectly this large book.

BigSide.jpgI found a tutorial at PapierDesign, also available on the YouTubes, and mostly followed it. I especially liked his sewing of the signatures. His Yootoob videos are easy to follow. On his website he has similar video tutorials in German and English.

It's big and it was fun to make and it's blank - You can do anything you want with it: turn it in to an accounting ledger, draw fabulous pictures of aging hippies, or collect autographs.

But what did I learn from this little adventure?

First, it takes time. From folding the A3 sheets to sewing to gluing to attaching the mull to measuring and cutting the book covers to backing the cloth to be used as book cloth to thinking about it all takes time. Time well spent because I think this is a fairly good production (despite a few flaws which I will get to later).

Second, don't panic. (Hmm, I read that somewhere before....). Glue might set quickly but not That quickly.

Third, cut the corners Before you glue them. Big mistake that, but not untreatable. This is related to whether to panic or not. When one looks at one's cover and notices that the corners have not been cut and the glue is thick and drying, one tends to panic. Quick cutting is required - not panic.BigEndpaper.jpg

Finally, align the endpapers nicely. The one (minor?) flaw is that the endpapers are not straight, especially on the back cover. However, that is just the appeal of a handbound book, is it not? Those slight Human imperfections. To the right is a detail on the back endpaper.


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PerfectCerealFront.jpgBehold, a blank notebook from my Cereal Series. This one, made of recycled paper, is 10cm by 15cm and is sort of almost kind of perfect bound. It started as perfect binding - the paperback style of binding with the gobs of glue. But the pages kept falling out. So I sewed the pages together using a very, very, very modified Chinese/Japanese stab binding: I didn't sew from hole to hole, just one loop. This will keep the pages in but it will also limit the opening range, sort of like a stab binding limits the opening range. Something I don't like so much.

PerfectCerealBack.jpgThe second thing is the thing the book is sitting on. It's an old printer, obviously a Heidelberg, that sits in a modern printing office: the office has state-of-the-art equipment (computers, soy ink, high speed three-color printers the size of several Prius cars) and this old Heidelberg over in the corner. They still use it from time to time, too.

PerfectCerealM2.jpgThe cover of the book, remember that? is from a cereal box of brown rice flakes (vs corn flakes) and the Japanese on the front cover says that: 玄米 genmai = brown rice. The back cover states how many vitamins and calcium a nutritious brown rice flake breakfast can be (if you add milk, fruit, and don't add sugar.)


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I just completed two green blank notebooks that will be used for episode guides for two other podcasts I make (Hokudai/Cast - Japanese, English, and Chinese with music; DinoSoar Pix - audio drama). Both books are essentially the same: 150 mm x 110 mm (a handy pocket size), 120 pages (six signatures of five sheets each), and hardbound with green book cloth.

Hokudai/Cast Episode Guide & DinoSoar Pix Episode Guide

DPEGHCEG.jpgThe DinoSoar Pix Episode Guide is thinner and less, er, perfect. Neither are perfect but the DPEG one is the lesser of the two. The H/CEG has endpapers whilst the DPEG does not. I think the endpapers, plus the better gluing and sewing job on the H/CEG the nicer looking of the two. Also, the H/CEG was made second so the DPEG labored as sort of a practice book.

DPEGHCEG02.jpgWhat did we learn from this little episode guide creating event? Alignment is important. Beside alignment, thinking would be nice. Thinking is always nice. By making DPEG first, I could think about how I should improve my next attempt, the H/CEG. Maybe I should always make three or four books at a time. By the time I get to book 4, it might just turn out okay.


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