Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Press

Home made sketchbook - Click image for larger view

I have been making sketchbooks recently. . .
Green Book - Click image for larger view

This one I made has hot pressed Arches 140 lb paper for it's pages and a great 'organic' looking clover handmade paper for the cover. This is a good size, 8.5 X 5 inches and has 28 pages all out of a single sheet of watercolor paper, some decorative paper and cardboard and of course white glue (PVA - Elmers) and a bit of thread. Some patience is required as well.
This one fits nicely in my back pocket.
Since I started making these I learned more and of course wanted more tools.  I looked at book presses and found that they are very expensive.. so I made one. I found the screw at Rockler for about $21, bought a few nuts and bolts ($12 or so) and had the wood on hand in the shop. Here is what I came up with.

Early stages - Click image for larger view
And the finished press… this should make the process easier and the books a better quality.

The finished press - Click image for larger view
Total working time - one hour and forty minutes - total cost about $35.00 - less the price for the wood which I had.  I would guess you could get the wood for about $25 - 30 - My top plate and the cross bar were made from poplar which I had from a sign project and the base made up from 3/4 inch birch ply - but you can make the whole thing from plywood and a half sheet birch ply would be more than enough to make this press. I have seen these presses on line for over $400 and an original cast iron press is MUCH more expensive.
I got a couple of questions of how I cut up a single sheet of watercolor paper to make a 28 page book.. so I drew this up to help with the explanation. Hope this helps out.
And I know that I am likely horrifying many bookbinders by having the grain run the wrong way on the one sheet but - hey, I live on the wild side. . .

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Main Street

OK- It's Done. .. Click image for larger view
So I went back this morning and and sat again and added some more detail - maybe it's better and maybe not. In any event, I am declaring it done. Typically this is exactly how I come to ruin things, like maybe those giant wires. . . .

Main Street, Hope Valley - Click image for larger view
This sketch is a two day effort I began it on Wednesday morning laying out the spread and working out the composition of what to include an what to leave out. I was in my car sketching this one in the parking lot of the ball field across the street. I love the porches on these old houses and the similarity and the disparity in their design. I will likely go back tomorrow morning and add a bit more to the sketch as there are still some unfinished bits.

Below is the original sketch - it looks like a coloring book.

Original sketch