Thursday, August 25, 2011

On the 19th, 20th and 21st of this month, I attended an Album Structure Workshop hosted by the Southwestern Ontario Chapter of CBBAG.  The instructor, Dan Mezza, is a London area bookbinder and restorer of rare books.  He also teaches most of the Bookbinding core courses for CBBAG.  I am truly lucky that his studio is only an hour away.

During the three day workshop, we created three different album structures.  The most simple structure was a cased in album with a glued spine.  What made this structure interesting was that instead of the single pages being glued directly to each other, the spine end of the page was folded over 1/2".  This meant the one page was glued to the folded flap of the other.  This allowed the pages to open fully without the stress normally applied to a glued spine.  The folded edges also acted as spacers for the photographs that will be placed in the album.


Cloth spine and overmarbled paper cover

You can see the folded section of the page

You can just see the slight extra thickness at the spine.



The next album was a stub album.  Each piece of folded paper in the signature was wrapped with a guard and the signature itself was wrapped with three guards.  This made a lot to sew through but the outer guards would end up being the stub that would hold the signature in place in the album. 

Each signature is sewn separately, the outer guards folded back to form stubs and pressed flat with a bone folder and put under weight.

The stubs are then aligned and the ends glued with PVA.  This is only a temporary measure.  After the stubs are secure, holes will be punched 5/16" from the joint of the stub and the signature.  These holes, 1/4" apart, will be used to sew the signatures together.  A running stitch is used.  The excess stub is then trimmed away and paper is glued over the stitching line to smooth it out.  We were using a leather spine so we wanted the spine area to be as smooth as possible.

The trimmed spine was pasted,  and a slight rounding was given to the spine to form a shoulder for the cover boards.  Because these were cut ends the rounding is not exactly like a traditional rounded back.  The spine was covered with muslin which would be glued to the covers for additional strength in the hinge area.


My signatures are not as aligned as I would have like them to be.  They slipped slightly during pressing.


Marbled papers and a leather spine were used for the cover.


The third album was a checkerboard binding.  It is an extremely durable binding used in the early Victorian era.  The pages of the album are made from bookboard and then covered with a heavy paper.  The opening for the photographs will be cut into the paper and a slit at the top will allow the photo to be put into the album.

This particular binding is durable because the cloth strips that attach the pages together don't attach one page to the next but wrap around pages.  The odd pages are attached to each other.  The even pages are attached to each other.  The two different colour strips on the spine make it easy to see the odd and even page attachments.


We stained the edges of the bookboard to give the book a more decorative look.  A frame of solid colour paper, similar to that used inside the book was placed on the cover.  Decorative paper was used inside the frame, though a photograph could also have been used.




I haven't cut out the picture frame, hence the solid interior covering.

Dan is a great teacher and we all learned a lot.  The wrapping for the checkerboard spine needs concentration until you can see the pattern.  Thank heavens we did it in two different colours.  The original bindings were done with one colour cloth.  I don't know how they kept their odds and evens straight.

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