Book Binding and Restoration Class

Geometrically Compartmentalised

I ♥ Learning

I am 5 weeks into a Book Binding and Restoration class at Sydney Institute of TAFE. The instructor is Carolyn Kenney, a binder with a long history in the trade. She is the second instructor I have had, having first started with Rosemarie Jeffers-Palmer at Amazing Paper in Enmore. One of the wonderful things about learning from multiple people is seeing different ways of doing things. Already I have learnt a few different, more efficient methods for things such as a method of tipping end papers that work for many at a time.

We’ve started off pretty simply, and are getting into sewing soon with a Japanese-style stab-bound book (first introduced to me as an Oriental Side Stitch). If you want some inspiration with your Oriental Side Stitching (or stab binding), check this out on Becca Making Faces’ blog. It is amazing.

Last class, we finished rebinding a paperback, and continued to create a case for an adhesive-bound printout of the free e-book Bookbinding and the Care of Books by Douglas Cockerell. An ePub format—among others—e-book is available from Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg is an awesome resource, and if you want to bind something instead of blank paper, print an e-book from PG and bind that. You will probably find a PDF version set up for printing on commonly sized paper—for example, Pride and Prejudice is available as a PDF imposed 2-up on A4, so that you can just print it and fold it and there you have it!

I’m not sure what legal issues—if any—stand in the way of using the PG stuff in your own work. I think you are free to use any e-books as you like. Can anyone shed any light on this?

A Lovely Gift

One of my compatriots of the course gave me a surprise the other day when at the end of the lesson she presented me with a beautifully crocheted cardigan vest with a hood for my little boy. It is so cool. As I told her, I love handmade things, and the knowledge that she took time out to create something for my little son personally is really special. It’s a little big, so I can’t wait for him to grow into it. Thanks Eleni!

TeX, or Tech, or Whatever It’s Called

A little while ago, I hit on this excellent page, outlining the process of printing a text and binding it. This was my introduction to the arcane and mysterious world of TeX. TeX is a system that allows the user to typeset a document into a high quality book. It is a cross-platform, free, and open source bundle of software. It is not as easy as plugging a Pages publication (or something from the other word processor) into it and, ‘Hey, presto!’, you have a book. It is pretty much a programming language all in itself, so there is a pretty steep learning curve: only the most intrepid computer savvy nerd will want to go there. I generally use it for imposing pages for creating booklets where that option is not available on the printer itself.

I started on converting Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice into a TeX document a little while ago, with the idea of binding and giving it as a gift for my Mum, but never actually got to the printing and binding stage. If you want, you can email me and I’ll send you a copy. You’ll need a working install of TeX, and a bit of knowhow and a certain amount of bull-at-a-gate-ishness.

Anyhow, I got bogged down with technical TeX stuff, in particular: getting a nice typeface to use (in this case Minion) which was not at all easy, and the way the pages were imposed, and how laser printers’ duplexing units (that allow printing on both sides of a sheet of paper) often are hopelessly inaccurate at getting both sides of the page to line up correctly (the registration). If anyone know how to improve this, please let me know!

I really want to give this a better go, because I can think of so many gifts I could make by printing classic novels. Imagine a set of hand-bound Charles Dickens or Jane Austen novels! The mind boggles.

A Random Post

So this was a not-so-directed post; or, a little bit random. I’ve been wanting to post about TAFE for a while, so I’m glad I finally got to do it. The impetus for that of course was the excellent cardy Eleni crocheted. Next time I post about TAFE I will wax lyrical about the wonderful experience of using an electric guillotine.