The day I completed the embroidery was a great feeling, but the next stage was getting the vellum stuck down onto the boards which was rather daunting. I always like to capture a photo of the reverse of the covering material before I stick it down, as it tells a story of how the front came to be, in some ways it is more interesting than what is on the surface!
I had experimented with gluing the vellum to stick to the sample book so I knew that the best adhesive was going to be a mixture of PVA glue and paste. I mixed this up in my roller tray and used a roller to apply it (I would usually use a paste brush for pasting out leather, but I found that it was best to use a roller for the vellum). The turn-ins were given a bit more PVA before turning them around the edges of the boards. The whole thing was lightly pressed under a weight and left to dry – I regularly changed the blotting papers to draw the moisture out.
I was really thrilled to see once dry that the vellum had gone down well. I gave it a good extra rub down through silicone release paper just to level out the embroidery threads.
Once the vellum on the cover was dry it was time to work on the inside of the boards. First I infilled with a layer of card, the same thickness as that of the vellum turn-ins. On top of this I glued down a layer of Zerkall, cut just slightly smaller than the overall size of the boards.
Once this was glued down in place, I sanded the Zerkall completely flat, so that there were no lumps and bumps.
Finally, one this was totally flat, I was able to glue down the paper doublure. I chose a colour to match the text block and this was glued down in place with PVA and a roller.
During the process of trimming the pages at the beginning of the project, there were a few off-cuts of paper left over with a little of the pochoir on them. I kept these not knowing whether I would find a use for them.
As the folded concertina wasn’t perfectly square on all four edges (it was seemingly impossible to get it so!), plus with this method of binding there was no need for sewn headbands, I decided to add some of my own. This would neaten up the look of the head and tail of the book and would add some more detail.
I began by cutting two small sections of square profile tulipwood to the width of the inner spine.
These were then mitred at both ends and paired together with the pochoir offcuts.
I delaminated the paper so that it was thinner, and covered the tulip wood in the coloured paper. I am now referring to these as “end-caps”.
I drilled two holes in both the end-caps and glued two brass pins in place. Corresponding holes were also drilled at the top and bottom of the inside of the spine, and the end-caps were secured in place.
At this point, I also glued the concertina into the case by tipping the tab that was left at the end of the folded concertina directly into the front board of the case, so that when positioned the pages were square.
So the book was complete! Now time to move onto the box. I commissioned a wonderful woodworker to make a tulipwood box for me to the following dimensions.
I wanted the title on the front of the box, and to carry the theme along I decided to embroider this onto the box lid. I used a bodkin to mark holes into the surface of the wood through a template, and then used a very fine drill bit in my Dremel to drill through the box lid.
I then used a fine needle and embroidered the title onto the lid in the same way i had done all of the words on the cover, first with a running stitch and then a whipping stitch. It was more difficult to do the whipping on the box top as there was no flexibility in the wood so I had a bit of trouble weaving the needle under the running stitch in places but I got there in the end.
To add a bit of extra colour to the title, I punched out some small circles from the leftover pochoir paper. I also cut a thin circle of wood out of the box top using my Japanese centre punch and then these paper circles were glued into them.
The thread tails were glued down on the inside of the lid. I then lined the inside of the lid and base of the box with felt which absorbed the threads underneath, the sides were lined with matching paper. A ribbon was attached into the bottom of the box to help lift the book out.
The final blog post shows the completed binding, plus images of the sample board/book I made up to test the process out on, “La Prose Part Five: Finished Binding”.