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Bookbinding: Gawayne and the Green Knight

I found Gawayne and the Green Knight on Librivox and listened to it while working. It's an updated version of one of the arthurian legends (well, I say updated... it was published about 1903, so it's fairly old by now, and that's why it's on librivox of course), in verse, both funny and unexpectedly touching in places. Gawayne has been one of my favourite knights since eleventh grade, when my Swedish teacher told us the tale of Parzival. She was an amazing teacher, and I have always wanted to give her someting. Now, four years since I finished school, I've found the perfect gift.

I downloaded the text from Gutenberg Project. I figured it would be okay since this was meant to be a gift - I would never sell a book I made with text from there without checking for how to pay them and stuff.
Anyways. The book is rather short, so to fill it out and get it a bit thicker, I drew a border that I put around every page.
SPOILER WARNING: the pictures tells the entire tale, from the upper left corner and clockwise.

Since the tale is about a knight, I printed the title on a shield.

Leather headbands is good for thin books like this. You can also see a bit of the border =)

I miscalculated when I cut the paper for the cover, so there was a few millimeters missing on each side when I pasted them on. I hid that with thin leather bands, and the book looked much better for it. My teacher always says "Bookbinding is the art of hiding your mistakes".

This is how the page looks with the border and all.

I hope she will be happy with it =)


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 11th, 2011 03:10 pm (UTC)
You are amazing!
Nov. 11th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
Nov. 18th, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
This is beautiful! And wonderful!

I actually chanced upon your journal because of the book you bound for the fanfic novel earlier. I was wondering how do you print the pages into folios - do you use Microsoft Word? Or is there a special program you use to print them before you bind them?

Do you bind books as a hobby or is it your job or something?
Nov. 18th, 2011 04:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
I use Word for that, yes. I wish I knew how to use a fancier program, and I'm hoping to learn from the design students at my school, but I can get really far with Word too.
I'm in my third year studying bookbinding, and then I'm hoping (hopinghopinghoping) to find a job in that area. Otherwise I'll just have it as a hobby until I can start my own business ^^
Nov. 18th, 2011 05:02 pm (UTC)
Oh wow. Your work is just so awesome though!

Do all books that are bound these days, are they all machine bound? I know that paper-backs are machine bound, undoubtedly, but are hard-covers all machine bound too?

Does that mean you will just print books and bind 'em by hand? Those would make seriously beautiful gifts! but then it would become tedious if you have to do like 50 copies of the same book, isn't it?

I use openoffice, and I was thinking of just trying to print a book on A5 and just use cardboard or something, to bind them (simple glue only, no thread because. um. too much effort?) but it's not gonna be anything like what you do. Which is works of art.
Nov. 18th, 2011 05:22 pm (UTC)
Yes, almost all books you see today is machine bound. Hand bound books are usually really expensive, as all other hand made things.

Binding with thread isn't very hard! A simple chain stitch or oriental stitch will make the book so much more durable!
However, if you're gonna do it with glue, here is an easy way to make really durable books: http://www.greenchairpress.com/blog/?page_id=613 (unless you know that already, ofc ^^)

I'd love to see it - if you ever do make a book, please drop me a line! =D
Nov. 18th, 2011 05:37 pm (UTC)
which does mean that all books you'll make would be a) one off things - like expensive gifts and b) well, expensive luxury items, wouldn't they?

You could totally start a business. Hand-made diaries/journals, teach little classes, and be commissioned to bind books that are special to people, and/or old editions? :)

I was looking at the chinese - uh, stabbing binding method, cause it looked easy (ahahaha) but then I realised I don't actually have a needle to punch holes with, and my eventual book would probably be too thick to bind into a single volume of that method.

*clicks the link*
Nov. 18th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC)
Exactly. There are also lots and lots of repair work, from historical books to books with high sentimental value to people.

The stabbing method is beautiful and quite easy (search youtube for japanese bookbinding if you want some more instructions, they have really good videos). If you don't have an... awl, I think they're called in english, you can always make the holes with a hammer and a nail (just remember to put a piece of wood that you're not too fond of underneath!), that's what I do. But, as I said, the double fan adhesive binding is really simple and makes for a good, durable book, probably more so than the chinese or japanese techiques (especially if the book's going to be thicker than one or at most two centimetres). Oriental stitch over ribbons makes for a unique-looking book (altogh a bit more pretty than practical), see my Slytherin book for a reference ^^
Nov. 18th, 2011 07:45 pm (UTC)
Oh - it looks kind of more complicated than I expected? O_O But I think it's because the need to make it look professional, rather than cheap/fast/slapdash, that's why all the extra special steps?

hmm. I guess it's really only if I actually tried then i'll understand it. I wouldn't know until i did. :P
Nov. 18th, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC)
Well, I guess I think it's uncomplicated when compared to the techiniques I use :P But it is rather simple once you try it ;)
Nov. 19th, 2011 05:15 am (UTC)
Well it is! I just looked at the binding you did for the Sherlock fic the Seventeenth Step, and it's just staggering how beautiful you work with, and how it's so complicated - but you clearly know what you're doing!

I mean, it's gorgeous. and it looks like those machine bound books, only you clearly put so much more thought into it.

I really should try making a book! I guess if I really wanted to try doing the stab-technique (which, Iknow isn't very long lasting, undoubtedly, compared to stitch- and glue or even just gluing) I'd need a drill.

Randomly: what makes a binding done with say, signatures bound and stitched stronger than one where you just glued the pages in? I know that some of the older paperbacks have just sheafs of pages falling out, but i'm not sure if the were stitched to the spine, or just glued.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )