手取川製本 ~ Tedorigawa Bookmakers
Ep. 273 Molly Bright  - Owari!

Ep. 273 Molly Bright - Owari!

July 26, 2022


Yes! I have finished the umpteenth draft of Molly Bright! During my Birthday Month! Yeah, me! I wrote the final four chapters first. Then I filled in the blanks from the previous final chapter to the New final chapter. And matched them up to complete Molly!

Molly_Bright_Osaka_Cover97xgn.jpgHowever, I discovered a new quirk I wanted to add. Molly and a Japanese person named Arisa have the same interests but they don’t like each other when they first meet. A sort of meet cute scenario but in this case it works out. Now, giving myself extra work, I need to find where Molly & Arisa meet and deepen their connection.

What does this mean for you? If means, if you read this, Molly will be available in the next month, which is August, for your perusal. At least a few chapters will be uploaded.

You may have noticed a lack of Bookbinding on this episode. That’s because nothing is happening because of a certain birthday boy’s laziness.

Ep. 271 Four Blank Notebooks For Doodling

Ep. 271 Four Blank Notebooks For Doodling

June 30, 2022


IMG_1348.jpgIn the past few days I’ve made four blank notebooks. Small blank notebooks. For those us who have mastered the art of metrics, they are 150mm tall and 100 (approximately) mm wide (A5 in the vernacular). Pocketbook size for the Americans. They are also my first and fourth or more forays into Perfect Binding i.e. glued books instead of sewn. There are six signatures of five folios each for 120 unmarked pages.

June_Endpapersbta4v.jpgAll four have bookmarks and straps to close them with. The bookmarks are because there are no pages (as mentioned above), and the closures are in case doodlers want to put scraps of paper or a pencil in the notebook and not have everything fall out. 

They have really nice Japanese-y endpapers, too. Which is pictured upside down here! Fun! 


Wow! Molly Bright is zooming! It’s zooming upward and onward in Two Ways!

Molly_Bright_Osaka_Cover97xgn.jpgFirst way: As I’ve said Many many times before, it is getting closer to the end. The Climatic scenes are approaching! Yes, this is good.

The Second way: I get thoughts about the characters to make them deeper, more real, more interesting, more exciting, and more moving. Subsequently, I have to go back and rewrite chapters, scenes, dialog. This is also Good. It makes, I believe, for a better book.

Bonus Third way: A New Cover! More red! More Osaka-esque! More, dare I say it, Mystery? However, the new cover badly needs a tagline. And fewer exclamation points.

Agnes Grout, not moving so much.

Ep. 270: Agnes & Molly: Their First Sentences

Ep. 270: Agnes & Molly: Their First Sentences

April 25, 2022


Perfect_Bindings_2.jpgI worked on two perfect binding blank notebooks. Perfect being a relative term; they are glued on the spine edge with nothing else holding the pages together.
Both are fifty pages complete with bookmarks, but no page numbers. They are 150 x 100 mm (for our metric-challenged American brethren and sisters, that’s about 2  x 4 inches; i.e. small, fit-in-your-pocket small). Both also have a printer’s mark on the upper left corner that are semi-hidden by the cover. 


AgnesGroutCover2.pngMolly_Bright_Covere_002_copy7mtrj.jpgThese two novels are coming along slowly but regularly. Agnes Grout is pushing 25 pages and is getting into the meat of the story slash the second act. While weaving Agnes ‘sees’ (or better: foresees) the death of her husband and employer’s son, who she tries to save.
Molly Bright is reaching the climatic end when all the characters smash together to save Sawako and her father and each confronts a life-changing decision.

Perhaps a sample of one or the other would be of interest to readers?

Ep. 269: Beatles Tunnel

Ep. 269: Beatles Tunnel

April 13, 2022


Beatles_Tunnel_2.jpgThis is my third tunnel book. The first one was years ago and the second was just before I made this one. The second was a prototype for this one

I chose random photos for the content on the first one; this time I chose random photos of an old favorite band.

The outside is decorated with sheet music for “A Day in the Life.” The back page on the inside has the sheet music for “Something,” at least the first few notes. On the front are artist/bassist Klaus Voorman (designer of the Revolver album; he also appears on the Sgt Pepper cover), Buddy Holly, Billy Preston, and original Beatles drummer Pete Best.

Also included are photographer Astrid Kirchherr (influential for the Meet the Beatles cover although she didn’t take that photo) and artist/bassist Stu Sutcliffe (next to John and in front of elder Paul). 

A5Graph.jpgNext up is an A5 graph paper notebook. It has five signatures of four sheets each (100 pages), a bookmark, page numbers, and bumpy covers.

It is one of three blank (or nearly blank) notebooks I will make in the next day or two. Blank, graph paper on the verso, and graph paper on both verso and recto.

These are being made for both practice at improving my bookbinding speed and to make both quick and artistic/error-free books people might like. I want to be fast but perfect with making better books is more important than making them quickly.


In the fiction section of this blog, we have the perennial runners up of The Posthumous Autobiography of the Widow Agnes Grout, Death Weaver and Molly Bright.



Both are progressing nicely although Molly Bright changed back to its original name because Kidnapping Osaka sounds like someone is kidnapping a champion tennis player and Surfing Osaka isn’t much better. It’s back to the original for me, then.

EP. 268: One 272-page Diary

EP. 268: One 272-page Diary

March 31, 2022


ThreeBooks.jpgThis month or so I was lazy, I procrastinated, I was lethargic, and sick but in the end I worked harder for four days and cased in three books. Two are notebooks, one with graph paper and the other with nothing. 

The notebooks are pocketbook size (A6) with 100 pages in five five-page signatures. One is called The Banana Book of Thoughts and one is called Face. For no apparent reason other than I wanted to name them something.

DiaryClosed.jpgThe third book I cased in is a 272-page 2022-2023 schedule. There are 17 (17!) signatures of four pages each (20 real pages when imposed), and it has about 60 pictures. Every Sunday has a picture and every birthday has a picture. It also has two different colors of thread. Because, well, why not?

This schedule was an experiment in putting on the spine piece. I usually measure the text block and make the spine piece equal to that. This time I measured twice (29mm) and subtracted two EndpaperFace.jpgmillimeters (for 27mm). This was the width of the book boards. The book opened very nicely, so I was pleased. I also expanded the width of the hinge between the spine piece and the book board from 5mm to 7mm. Next week: 10mm!

All-in-all, I was pleased with how all three books came out and learned a bit on each one.


AgnesGroutCover2.pngTwo novels are spinning wheels this winter. The first, The Posthumous Autobiography of the Widow Agnes Grout, Death Weaver is struggling to find its center.

It is about a woman in the 1860s onward who can tell when people will die and how. She learns this while weaving, which is her specialty; it's what keeps her family afloat after her husband died.

Most people don't believe her. Even when she predicts the death of a crude weaving mill boss.

I think I'll have to do more research in later 19th century lifestyles in the Lowell, Mass are before it gets uncorked and flows like Spanish festival wine during harvest time.

Molly_Bright_Covere_002_copy7mtrj.jpgThe other book, Surfing Osaka, (Formerly Molly Bright) is progressing slowly but it is progressing. It is obviously coming close to the end where the good guys find the kidnapped victims and reunites them with what family they have left. But discovering the kidnapped victims is not the point of the novel. The point of the novel is each character discovering something inside them that they want to change. And change they do.

For example, Molly stops being a corporate employee who buys cheap handmade furniture in poor areas and turns to making the furniture herself. 

This is an old cover. The new title, which I'm to thrilled about is Surfing Osaka, but it needs something more kidnappish-conspiratorial-character-driven. I'm working on it.

Ep. 267: Schedules and Sadness

Ep. 267: Schedules and Sadness

February 20, 2022


I've been working on my computer in an attempt to finish four 2022/2023 schedules and all four schedules are different. Different in:

  • Size: A6 (pocket book) to A4 (computer paper);
  • Language: Japanese, English, and Japanese & English;
  • Layout: from one day for one page, to seven days on one page;
  • Photos: from generic touristy to personal 


Two novels in the making:

• Surfing Osaka (formerly Molly Bright). A chemist is kidnapped by a religious cult to make bombs. A band of strangers set out to save her. 

• The Posthumous Autobiography of the Widow Agnes Grout, Death Weaver.

Agnes can see the future when it comes to people she knows dying. She tries to warn them. Some listen to her. Some die anyway. Agnes tries to grow rich with her visions of the future, but she always fails. She is a weaver and makes her living weaving, teaching weaving, and being a fabric/weaving artist.


In college and beyond there were three of us. We were, in our minds, witty and creative. One was a poet, one worked on Broadway, and one was me. The poet got a government job which paid the bills but didn't damper his spirit or creativity. I got a job in Japan. The one who worked on Broadway enjoyed life; he traveled, took tours and sailed on cruises to many countries, he enjoyed wine purchased in far-flung places, he collected comic books, he played John-Bonhameseque drums, he knew the best meals in the best restaurants with the best views, and the best desserts. And walked everywhere.

I Zoomed him five days ago. He died this morning. Stage Four Melanoma that spread to his brain, robbing him of his wit and his life. But not our memories of him.

Ep. 266: Islamic-German Binding

Ep. 266: Islamic-German Binding

January 22, 2022


Islamic-German_Junk_Book177at9.jpgThis is a paperback-size ( 文庫本 in Japanese, pronounced bunko-bon) junk notebook with an Islamic cover (the flap over the edge protects the textblock) but German (and English) writing on the front. Filled with eight signatures of leftover scrap paper from other projects.

First I cut out ordinary paper as a template for the cover. Next, I put the template on very thin card stock paper to use as a cover. Then, for some inexplicable reason, I glued the template to the card stock. And finally used craft paper as the cover knowing I was going to slap on some left-over papers I had stored up over the decades (the Austrian tram ticket is from, maybe, ten or more years ago). 


I made this primarily to practice Islamic binding. Especially gluing in the endpapers on the flap the lies over the front cover. Most corners for covers are cut at a 90˚ angle to the paper. The corners for the flap are not quite so straight forward and I had a bit of hit-and-miss experimenting before I got cut properly. 



In fiction, as I said last time, I finished a novel (The New Crucifixions) in the first week of December. After that I looked through my messed-up files to see what other fiction I could find lurking about in the computer like digital vampires. I found a novel with great premise that I started about two years ago. I mentioned it here before. It’s called The Posthumous Autobiography of the Widow Agnes Grout: Death Weaver. Agnes was a weaver in Lowell, Massachusetts starting in about 1850 until her death in 2020 at 170 years old. Besides longevity, her main super power is the ability to predict the deaths of people around her and warn them to avoid certain activities or places to avoid death. Not all of the people believe her.

Aside from Agnes, I am working on another novel which was called Molly Bright but I changed it to Surfing Osaka because Molly, while a main character, is not the only character who changes. However, since most of the novel – a kidnapping – takes place in Osaka, I felt it only reasonable to use a different title.

The next installment of Calvado: A Deathly Love Story is up.

Ep. 265: It’s Been a While

Ep. 265: It’s Been a While

January 13, 2022


This week…This Week? Yes, I have been a bit lax in my updating your podcast. My excuses range for personal and private to laziness with laziness taking the cake. 

However, We’re Back! And hopeful.

In the last four or five or six months I have made and sold a few yearly schedules, a music book, and repaired a music book. I also gave away a yearly schedule that starts in September and ends in March. Strange, but true.


In Fiction I’ve written several short stories that are actually flash fiction plus a bunch of one-sentence stories; very different from novels. 

Just before November I began a novel. I finished it shortly after November but I don’t consider it a NaNoWriMo novel. It’s called The New Crucifixions. The leaders of different groups are assassinated by members of those groups because the groups want martyrs. 

Molly_Bright_Covere_002_copy7mtrj.jpgOne thing I knew would happen when I read Molly Bright to you in the last podcast all those months ago (May?)  is that I would discover misspelled words, mistaken words, less-than-ideal sections, and phrases, and sentences that didn’t play well with others. And, of course, I did.

Some I corrected before I recorded, some I edited out, and some I let stand during the recording but let stand in the final product but edited in the written record.

Does that mean I’m going to inflict the entire novel on you in aural form? No.


An Audio Book

Calvado_CoverSmall84h30.jpgYou do have the opportunity to listen to my novel Calvado: A Deadly Love Story. It’s about Calvado and Mack, two people in New York City whose lives interconnect in a strangely time-bending way; one ends up dead. Meanwhile, a crow chases a pimp from Brazil to New York. The pimp believes the crow is the reincarnation of a sex worker he beat to death. The pimp befriends Mack. 

You can find the first chapter up now by clicking here or by going to iTunes (or whatever Apple is calling their podcast/music service these days.) Or by clicking on the Audio Book of Calvado: A Deadly Love Story on your left-hand column.



Ep. 264: Asao Shimura & Molly Bright, Ch. 1.

Ep. 264: Asao Shimura & Molly Bright, Ch. 1.

May 16, 2021

Bookbinder of the Week:

Asao Shimura is a papermaker who studied industrial chemistry in university, but then went on to become a papermaker while studying in the US, Korea, China, Japan, and a host of other countries. He lives in the Philippines and teaches papermaking all over the world, including the US. Active on Facebook, his posts are in English.


2021Schedule.jpgThis week I completed four books; two experimental and two for sale. Except one has already been sold.

It’s a 2021 Schedule (April to April) that was requested last year but only completed this week because of family concerns. It has a two yearly calendars (2021 and 2022), 13 monthly calendars, and a bunch of weekly calendars. The total is 100 pages including five graph pages for planning and doodling. 

Red100x100.jpgThe other one for sale but not yet sold is a red blank notebook of 100 pages, 105mm x 145mm, and a soft cover (i.e. no book board). Suitable for planning novels, parties, films or doodling. 

The two experimental ones were various page lengths of leftover papers (about 120 pages), leftover decorative pieces (a subway token and a car tax certificate for last year), and scraps of paper for the cover. This one is A5 in size. 

Car_Tax_Book8w5gb.jpgOne cover was a true experiment in that I pasted together half a dozen small papers then cut them in a decorative way hoping the ridges and valleys would create an amusing cover. I failed. Or, rather, I succeeded in discovering one method that didn’t work. This one is 85 mm x 135 mm, and fits nicely in my hand.

The purpose of these two experimental books was to push my comfort zone further into the void that is my lack of knowledge about bookbinding, books, and glue. 


I continued working on Molly Bright the novel and Molly Bright the character (Chapter Two doing the in-depth introduction) in 10 pages; the same as the Introductory Chapter that introduces The Plot! I’ve succeeded in making her deeper while at the same time making the character she’s talking to (a Japanese-English interpreter/guide) deeper as well. I even included some foreshadowing.

Molly_Bright_Covere_002_copy7mtrj.jpgI worked a bit on the third character who is introduced in the third chapter, Early Mather, who is still penniless and homeless in India but wishing to get to Japan. Being optimistic about his situation he is sure some day he will surf in Japan. But being realistic he is saving as much as he can from his begging income, which is meager.

Molly and Early will, as shown in the first chapter, meet in a surfing site along with Sawako Kado, who gets kidnapped – also in the first chapter – by a  cult that wishes to use her computer expertise and chemical talent to fashion a dirty bomb or computer virus. 

Ep. 263: Inoue Nao & Spine Grooves

Ep. 263: Inoue Nao & Spine Grooves

May 4, 2021

Bookbinder of the Week: Nao Inoue

Inoue Nao is a bookbinder and teacher in Tokyo. She won a prize in an Italian bookbinding competition, has displayed her books in a variety of galleries, and has some innovative book covers.

She teaches all aspects of bookbinding from making your own book cloth to working with leather and making miniature books. She teaches in both English and Japanese and her website is in English, Chinese, and Japanese. I have taken her classes and learned quite a bit.

Ms Inoue’s website with classes and store: Marumizu.net


FIve_books_in_Three_Days9vso5.jpgThis week I made six A6-sized (pocketbook) books using scraps, recycling bits and pieces of endpapers, text blocks, and covers. Why? To become more comfortable with the groove between the spine and the covers, something I have always struggled with. Success! I am now more comfortable with the groove.
And to see how long it takes me to make a book. Three and a half hours is my average speed for an A6-sized book with between five and nine signatures.

Yes, there are only five books in the picture. I finished the sixth one just before I made this blog post and its accompanying podcast.Miniture_Japan64mqb.jpg

I also made a small book 90 mm x 90 mm with, maybe 9 signatures, and a very ’Japanese-y’ cover. For those born and educated in the US, 90 mm is about 3 and a half inches (3.5, if you understand decimals) or about palm-width.

This one took about 3.5 hours as well, but it included that stripe on the front to indicate that that is the front. The other books have no such marker. Again, the text block is recycled from class handouts.


Molly_Bright_Covere_002_copy7mtrj.jpgI wrote a bit more on Molly Bright this time on Molly Bright. Chapter One is mainly about the second main character and the character who gets the story rolling: Sawako Kado, a genius computer wiz being sought after by a murderous religious cult. This chapter’s up to eleven pages and is mostly complete.

Chapter Three is about the third main character: Early Mathers, a easy-going, lazy, travel-addicted 30-something who gets caught up in Sawako’s dilemma. This one’s only got two pages and is far from complete.

But Chapter Two is about the main character: Molly. Molly is on a business trip in Fukuoka and Kagoshima in Japan when she runs into Sawako and Early. The people she meets and the trials and terrors she must go through change her from a career-minded, fast-track executive of the import business she works for into a more relaxed artisan with a talent for marketing.

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