October 13, 2015

Welcome To The Pegana Press Bindery​​

October 7, 2015

Today I finished binding 10 copies of The Golden Key.  They are resting under weight tonight, and will continue to for up to two weeks.

We're using Bertini paper from Italia for the end papers, and I'm still getting used to it, even though I've  worked with it a bit when binding the dummy copies.  The Lama Li Lakta paper from Nepal (used for the Lost Tales books) is very forgiving, almost like cloth.  This Bertini is stiffer paper and less forgiving, although very sturdy.

It looks wonderful in the book, but it's a different entity entirely to work with.

The Golden Key/Pegana Press Bindery

This photo was taken after the book had been under weight for 2 hours.  I was happy to see that the paper was drying beautifully.

There is still one step to go, attaching the titles, but that won't be for at least a week.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this peek into the binding process.  I wanted to share about our process because I was reading recently about other presses that market their books as being hand bound.  I found myself wondering how they can offer their books so cheaply and make hundreds of copies.  Then I found out that those books are made using machines.  What we're doing at Pegana Press is really pretty unique in today's world.

October 8, 2015

The Golden Key/Pegana Press 2015
As you can see, no two books are exactly alike.  Each front title and spine title are cut by hand individually.

This photo shows the front title being trimmed down from its parent sheet.

The second photo shows the spine title being trimmed down.  Requiring only a ruler and cutting tools, the most important thing is to have a good eye and a steady hand.

The Golden Key/Pegana Press 2015
The next step will be to attach the titles to each book.  After drying, the book is finished and ready to be read.

You can view the finished book on the George MacDonald tab of Pegana Press.

October 12, 2015

I decided to take a quick break from binding to post some photos of one of the cases I'm working on this afternoon.  First I glue the fabric to the boards and add the spine treatment.  Then I set the joint next to the spine...

The Golden Key/Pegana Press Bindery

and wrap the case around the book block.

The Golden Key/Pegana Press Bindery

Here's the finished case looking very pretty.

The Golden Key/Pegana Press Bindery

The case binding with it's book sits under weight over night to give the binding a nice shape.  Tomorrow I'll begin gluing the books into their bindings.

Back to work now.

Pegana Press Books


Before I go back to the bindery, I wanted to post some more photos of the binding process for this project, so you can see all the love that goes into your copy of this book.

Here are the spine reinforcements which always take so much time.  Early on, I tried to do this on a paper guillotine, but the pieces would shift, and cut unevenly, so I have had to cut each one by hand.

When I first started doing this, I would only get one usable one for every two I cut.  I've had a lot of practice since then.  ;)

The Golden Key/Pegana Press Bindery

Here is the yellow book cloth, just cut into sections across the grain from a roll of dubletta cloth.  I will be able to bind three books from each of these sections.

The Golden Key/Pegana Press Bindery

The next step is to make the case bindings.  With cloth and binder's board and glue.  This is the fun part of binding for me.  Taking all the hand prepared materials and making something that begins to resemble the finished book.

The Golden Key/Pegana Press Bindery

I will wrap each finished case around its book block, set the joint, where the book opens, and then allow it to rest under weight overnight, before binding the book in on the following day.

Well now, it's back to the bindery.  More later.

October 23, 2015

Yesterday I finished up the day by attaching mull and headbands to the book.  I let them dry over night.  I was really pleased with the result when I looked through them this morning.  The headbands I chose are golden.

The next step involves making the cases for the binding.  During the design process, I bound a dummy and glued the front title to the cover.  This worked really well for The Age Of Malygris/Clark Ashton Smith/Pegana Press 2014, because that title was on a really thin paper.  The paper we're using for the title of The Golden Key is much thicker and I could see that it would be subject to wear unless it was inset into the cover.

That means before making the cases, I need to make the insets into the boards used for the front cover.  This is done by hand, as crazy as that sounds.  But I've had a lot of practice with the Lost Tales books.

The inset of this book is quite large, because it has to accommodate the illustration on the front title.  I made two more dummy bindings with the insets to make sure the design would work.

Besides getting the boards ready, I need to cut the book cloth to the right size.  I've always used a cotton dubletta cloth on all our books, so I've continued with dubletta and for this edition we've chosen yellow to fit in with the title.

Another important step is to create the spine reinforcements which create a flat spine for our letterpress spine titles.  This was decided upon when we made our first case bound book for the Lost Tales series.  Having collected books in our personal library with traditional spines, has taught us a valuable lesson about how paper titles glued to a spine can chip and crumble with handling over time.  The books with spine reinforcements create a flat spine, and those seem to cause less wear to a paper title.

Therefore, each spine reinforcement also has to be cut by hand.  This is one of the hardest jobs to get precise, but I feel that this extra step is worth the work and time to ensure that the paper titles stand up to handling over time.  This photo shows the case binding with a (white) paper liner to help reinforce the book and a spine reinforcement in place.  This is what the finished case looks like, all ready to glue a book into.

I'm planning on making the cases on Saturday.  More later.

At Pegana Press we make all of our books by hand from start to finish.

I'd like to share the binding process here with you, and I'll be taking photos as I bind The Golden Key.

After Mike trims and collates the pages, he hands them off to me in the form of signatures.  This is a beautiful book to work on and I'm really enjoying it.

I start by piercing the holes for sewing into each signature.  They have to line up, so the book will be even.  I use a template and a stabbing cradle and pierce each one by hand.

The next step is the sewing.  For The Golden Key, I used linen thread and linen sewing tapes.  I am binding in batches of 12 to 14 until I catch up with the preorders, so I sewed a stack of books before moving on to the next step.

Today I tipped in the end papers, which were cut and folded by hand.  I have to wait for the end papers to dry before moving on the next step, gluing the spines.  Once that glue has dried, I round the spines.  This afternoon, I will add mull and head bands.

Tomorrow, I will be cutting cloth and spine reinforcements.  The reinforcements create a flat spine for our letterpress titles to be glued to. 

Back to the bindery.  More later.

October 11, 2015