November 29, 2009 by sandwichcontrol
Three Papa Sandwiches and one cup of coffee later, I am ready to make today’s post.
Yesterday I managed to get my bearings again. I ran around a lot and did quite a bit of Christmas shopping. Pancake Land has the largest assemblage of gifts, thus far, sitting where the tree will eventually be. She’s got at least three and many more are on the way.
The most exciting thing that happened yesterday was that I got the Secret Doctor’s Book printed. Hooray! Today I will start the sorting and assembling process. Pray to whoever you pray to that every thing came out like it was supposed to. I am doing a run of 50 which means that I am making 60.
Let’s talk about “Dozens” for a minute. I like to learn crafts. Craftsmanship is something that intrigues me. Something about the ability to make whatever is needed i.e. being crafty (and not in a Beastie Boys kind of way). I like that weird sort of preparedness. Like MacGyver. Well, in learning a lot of different crafts, I have come to realize that “a dozen” means a lot of different things. To you, a dozen means 12. That is normal. But to a crafter, depending on their craft, a dozen could mean anything.
The Baker’s dozen is by far the most well-known. A Baker’s dozen is 13 instead of twelve. It originated in medieval England where a Baker could lose a hand for shorting people a loaf of bread. To ensure they kept both of their hands at the ends of their arms they started to include an extra loaf just for good measure. In fact it was also referred to as a “long measure”. Some of the lesser known dozens include the Potter’s dozen and the Bookmaker’s dozen.
A potter’s dozen is 18 or, in all actuality, the quantity desired plus one half. If you need 12, you add half of that, 6, and you make 18. A pot has a long way to go in between the potter’s wheel and your dinner table. There are plenty of opportunities for it to crack or explode or stick to a kiln shelf. Believe me, I’ve ground my fair share of kiln shelves.
A Bookmaker’s dozen is 10% more than you need. This gives you a little wiggle room for smudgy or bent pages, bad type impression, or any of the other million things that could go wrong when making a book. I usually round that 10% up to the next five place. For example, I need an edition of 50, plus 10%, brings us to 55, round to the next five is 60. A little bit of extra work to ensure that your bases, and asses, are covered.
I had Le Duke make me a new book cradle for this momentous event. I had been using one that I built out of mat board, but it was not going to cut the mustard for a project this big. I needed something in wood. Check it out:
Pretty cool, huh? Anyway, you are probably wondering what a book cradle is and what it is used for. Well, I’ll tell you. There are a lot of different kinds of book structures. The one most people are familiar with is a case bound book. Scan your bookcase and anything with a cover on it, hardback or paperback, is a case bound book, for the most part. (This whole explanation should be ignored by you bookmakers out there.) Go to your book case and find an older hardback book. Look at the top edge of the book where the paper on the inside meets the spine. Do you see all of the separate sections of paper?
Most text blocks, the paper part with words and images in it, especially in hardbacks were put together in parts called signatures. A signature is just a set of paper folded together and usually sewn. Then, the rest of the signatures were sewn. Then, all of the signatures were collected together and attached and case bound. I am oversimplifying and painted with broad brush strokes to make this short and easy.
The long and short of it is this: a book cradle is one way to punch holes in a signature so that you can sew it. You set the signature into the cradle, spine end first, and the V-shape of the cradle will automatically open the signature up and allow you access to the interior spine, or the valley. Using a jig, a device, usually made of paper, with marks for where the holes need to be, and an awl, you punch your holes. That easy.
Well enough talking about making books. I have to go make some for real. More soon. ~SC
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