New Bookbinding Kits

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New at cleverhands.net – French link stitch bookbinding kits!

I had an interesting conversation with a neighbor at the spring Renegade craft fair this year. She was selling cooking kits – spices packaged in a cute mason jar with recipes using the spices included. It struck me that what she was really selling was expertise. Which of course got me thinking – which lead me to bookbinding kits.

It struck me that people could use the kit and included supplies to make their first book, then they would have the tools and skills to make more books. Which makes me happy – I like the thought of piles of home brew books filled with wonderfull stuff – made of wonderful stuff! And for that next book? You can totally go the traditional route and use book cloth and binders board and linen thread – I’ll even be posting some kit refills in the shop but I’m also hoping people will be making books out of what they have on hand! Cut up that shipping box to use for covers, use wrapping paper for end papers – play! make giant books, tiny books, weird books! And if you do I’d love to see them!

bound3up

Craft Fair Season is in full swing!

This weekend ( July 16th and 17th) I’ll be at the fabulous Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco. Come say hi at Fort Mason. Next weekend back down at Fort Mason I’ll be at the San Francisco Bazaar’s event outside the J-Pop festival. Its my first time at this event and I am really looking forward to meeting new people and checking out the vibe.

Lots of new stuff on the horizon, including Bookbinding Kits on the Etsy site and more bookbinding resources here.

I hope summer is filling your heads and hearts!

Upcoming Fairs in San Francisco

Hey! Ho! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted because I’m ramping up for the start of festival season. I’ll be at the following upcoming craft fairs with Bandoliers, hand bound books, and more! I hope to see you there!

Renegade Craft Fair, San Francisco
April 30 – May 1,  11am – 6pm @ Fort Mason Center Herbst Pavilion

San Francisco Bazaar at the 11th Annual Maker Faire Bay Area
May 20-22 2016 @ the San Mateo event center

Its been a big week for product launches!

waxed canvas down

From time to time, custom orders come in for vertical style bandoliers. I really see the appeal of this style. It does hold fewer pens, but it works well on the cover of a book without restricting access to the book’s interior. I figured it was time to make some up, and post an official listing! I’m calling this style a Journal Bandolier Holster. You can select the size that will fit your book cover  right on the listing page and it will also stretch to hold your book closed if you want it to go around more than just the cover. I’ve also decided to offer this style in waxed canvas. If the material does well I may extend the offering to other styles! What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

New in the Shop: Handbound Pocket Notebooks

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New in the shop! I hand bind each notebook with 28 pages (14 leaves) of 100% cotton 32lb cream colored paper. Each notebook is sewn with sturdy waxed linen thread. They are available in rich red, kraft brown and slate grey. You can order all one color or all three.

These notebooks are 4″ wide and 5.25″ tall. The perfect size for throwing in your bag or back pocket.

DIY 3 point awl

materials

I make a LOT of little pamphlet sewn books. This is the rig I set up to make it easier to punch the holes consistently the same distance apart without using a jig.

Materials:

  1. 3 corks (synthetic works great – if you use natural make sure they’re in good shape)
  2. 3 bookbinding needles – sturdy shafts with an eye that does not bulge out
  3. duct tape
  4. pen
  5. wood glue
  6. block of wood same width as corks and length 3x as long as the corks are wide
  7. x-acto or other sharp knife
  8. ruler

Three point awl directions:

1 – Measure your needles. They should be at least 2 inches long – the ones I like to use are 2.5 inches long. You want the needles to be about an inch longer than the cork. Cut the corks down so they are an inch shorter than the needles.

gluingcorks

2 – Glue the uncut side of the corks to the piece of wood with glue on the wood and between the corks. Make sure they are snugged up, touching sides, and lined up evenly.

3 – Allow the glue to dry and set for 24 hours. No, really. I know it’s hard and you just want to move on to the next step, but slap yourself on the wrist and go do something else.

4 – Use the ruler to mark a line down the middle of all three corks so the needles will be inline with one another then measure and mark three points with an equal distance between them for the needle placement.

5 – Carefully push the needles in to the marks in the cork; about 1/2 inch. Keep the needles perpendicular to the wooden base and parallel to each other.

unwrapped

6 – Turn the whole rig over and push slowly and firmly down on a piece of wood or cutting mat to drive the needles into the corks until they stop (hit the wooden base)

7 – Cut a piece of duct tape wider than the width of the corks and long enough go up the sides and onto the wooden base. Push the needles through the middle of the tape and press the tape to the cork tops, pulling it up the sides and onto the wooden base. Push the tape into all the corners on the way up and over onto the sides of the cork.

8 – Cut more pieces of tape and push the needles through wrapping around the wooden base meeting the ends on the side of the corks so the top ends up wrapped without loose ends.

finished

9 – Cut some more pieces of tape to wrap around the corks and secure them side to side. The goal is to support the connection to the base, and the connection to each other and prevent side to side wiggle.

Note for use:

punching

In the beginning, it will take a little more time placing the multi point awl than a single awl. Make sure all needles are all lined up on the fold. Practice a few times with some paper you don’t care about until you get the hang of it.

See above illustration for sewing diagrams for 3, 5, and 7 point pamphlet stitches.

Resources:

6 John James #18 Bookbinding Needles

18oz Gorilla Wood Glue

Scotch 1110-C Multi Use Duct Tape, 10-Yards