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Tucson, Arizona, United States
I work as Panther Peak Bindery and am a bookbinder, conservator and instructor working outside Tucson, Arizona for individual and institutional clients across the country. I am a two term President of the Guild of Book Workers, was a Fulbright Scholar, taught at North Bennet Street School for over nine years and was the fastest in my middle school class at running up and down a flight of stairs (really!).



Monday, September 12, 2016

Kennedy newspaper treatment

I've received several questions over the years about the blog entry on The Christian Science Monitor newspaper encapsulation and binding project I posted a while ago. That post is here:

Over a year ago my intern, Bailey Kinsky, did a similiar project with a couple of newspapers on the Kennedy assassination.  Except what she did was a bit more involved.  I thought it would be interesting to see a more complete explanation of the process.

The first step is to separate the pages by cutting along the fold.  One needs a sharp blade or the paper will rip and tear rather than cut and then paper repair would be needed.

Next the pages need to be interleaved with polyester.  When the pages are being washed they cannot be handled. Wet paper tears! But wet paper will stick to this spun polyester.  One sheet of the polyester is needed for each page being washed.  The poly needs to be a bit larger than the sheets being washed.

Interestingly enough washing pages involves placing them into water baths.  I didn't have a sink large enough for this project so I made one 4 feet square using melamine and 2 x 2s along with a bit of silicone caulk. 

Each page was washed in three baths of water and then sized (a topic for another post).  After being washed the pages were placed on photo screens to dry.  At least initially!

Unfortunately I only had twenty screens.  So we made do by using the polyester rolls as a drying base by spreading it around the bindery, holding them in place using weights.  It sort of filled the bindery.

After the pages dried over night the encapsulation process began.  Encapsulating is not laminating!  The pages end up floating between two pieces of inert plastic, formerly called mylar.  Well, still called mylar even though the offical name has changed.

Double sided archival tape is then applied to the mylar a few millimeters out from the page.  This work is done on a pattern which was drawn on a piece of craft paper.  By working on a pattern the pages and the tape will all align when the work is completed.

This picture shows the relationship between the pages, the tape and the mylar.

Once the pages are all encapsulated they are attached to each other.  Often filler is necessary along the spine edge so that the spine will be as thick as the pages.

The pages are then sewn together. This style of binding was developed by Bill Anthony and shown to me by Mark Esser.

A cover is made, which in this case was a bit of a project in itself.

The cover was attached to the text block and a label applied.

The beauty of this process is that the pages are pretty much untouched in the binding. They can be removed quickly and easily, unlike laminating where they are stuck between plastic and cannot be easily removed.

This is an extremely fun process to go through, I wish I could do it more often.  Recently I did a binding of this type which had some rather extreme challenges.  I'll post on that in the future.  It's yet one more example of dare devil bookbinding!

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