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[BKARTS] Flat pages for binding classes

Hi Betty, and thank you for the follow up. I had been curious why this
topic's thread seemed to have dropped. It never hurts to carefully control the
moisture content of the paper in a bookblock. Short of kaolin/glue coated papers
and water soluble inks surely the best thing you can do is to wash the text
block. And not only to clear water soluble acids and sizings. I think that we
sometimes forget that the bonds between paper fibers are both mechanical (I always
see myself eating spaghetti at this point) and molecular. In a paper that has
been allowed to become overly dry the ionic bonds are broken. It is also true
that a closed bookblock is much more apt to loose moisture than to gain in
even a "normal" environment. This applies to every material used in the binding.
At this point it is interesting to note that a linen thread (though by 1870,
thanks to a history of slave cultures, cotton was more common in edition
binding) actually contracts with moisture and expands on drying.
See Christopher Clarkson's designs for self adjusting tension regulation of
vellum leaves.
I imagine that the paper is also highly calendered. This was an adaptation to
contemporary and thus "modern" printing methods. Washing would irrevocably
alter the aesthetics of the paper.
As to the failure of the glue on the spine, well what else is new? I trust
that no one is any longer using any hide glue on their books, period. I have a
particular interest in the many and varied additives that binders and their
suppliers used in hide glues from the 17th through 20th centuries, everything
from sugar to scents. What is true is that none of these additives ever produced
a truly sound hide glue. We still haven't one.
What I really want to say Gavin is that it is grotesquely unfair of us to
denounce earlier binders as incompetent or worse. Surely some were and are. But I
believe that the majority, just as we do today, struggled with the science
and technology available to them to meet the demands of the larger public. I've
been in the game long enough to see our own mistakes.
Chloramine T anyone? Soluble nylon?
I am grateful that I'll not be around in 2104 to see my own work denounced.
And Monday morning quarterbacks always win.
Best, James

James Tapley
Hand Bookbinder
2077 Thirteenth Street
Sarasota, FL 34237
Tel 941 366 8248

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