Not much… but it’s something.

My work with the Guild of Book Workers website has kept me pretty busy for the last year, so I haven’t had much time to think about blogging. During my trip this May to San Francisco for AIC, however, I wrote up a summary of Lieve Watteeuw’s talk during one of the BPG sessions. She shared some pretty amazing technology developed by the Reflectance Imaging for Cultural Heritage project. You can read that post here.


View from Alcatraz Island



School’s Out

Well folks, graduation happened on the first of this month. My time at NBSS has come to an end!

That doesn’t mean the magic is going to stop here, however. I still have many more projects to post. I’m working hard to get all my images in order to speed that process along. The blog will continue for a while yet… here is just a taste of things to come!

Portraits in Preservation

Kevin Driedger is a preservation librarian/conservator at the Library of Michigan and runs a very interesting blog titled Library Preservation 2. I’ve been reading this since he rebooted it a couple of years back and have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Most recently, Kevin has been doing a series called “Portraits in Preservation”, in which notable figures in library preservation, conservation, and education answer questions about their experiences and approaches to the field. They have been wonderful to read, so when he asked me to write one for the “student edition” to be posted during Preservation Week, I was more than happy to do so. You can read my entry here.

I am really looking forward to future installments of this series. The preservation community is not all that big, but incredibly diverse. Also, because of the nature of the training and work, individuals within the community are almost guaranteed to be interesting!

Mention in Felt & Wire

Alyson Kuhn wrote a short feature on NBSS and mentioned a recent project of mine. I’ve been promising a post on springbacks for a while now, after rebinding a few ledgers this year. That post is coming – but, as a teaser, ‘Before’ and ‘After’ shots of one of the books appear in the article.

You can read that story here.

NBSS on Wikipedia

One of the projects that has occupied my writing time as of late has been the creation of a Wikipedia article for the North Bennet Street School. Surprisingly, one had not been attempted before.

I wrote this article using Sarah Henry and Mary A. Williams’ book, titled North Bennet Street School: A short history 1885-1985, as a source for the history of the building and organization. It’s actually a very interesting read and includes photos of some of the earliest students and instructors.

This is my first ever contribution to Wikipedia, so I am rather pleased to have it up. I am also interested to see how the article develops as other users make changes and add information.

Changing web host.

My portfolio site ( will be down for the next few days as I transition to a new host. I was hosted through MS Office Live, because they offered an amazing promotional price a few years back. They worked well enough and I had no complaints. Now it looks like they are transitioning the service and regular old hosting is not on the menu. After asking around and consulting the great Lifehacker, it looks like Dreamhost will be my new home. I will continue to post here.

Tools and Tooling

I promised to put up an example of some more refined tooling. Here is my finished plaquette (in a slightly blurry photograph):

The design is pretty much dictated for the assignment and is meant to demonstrate specific techniques. The border and top panel illustrate blind tooling with lines and dots. The second panel has three circles to demonstrate blind and gold tooling with a gouge, as well as an onlay with a gilt edge. For the white circles, I used alum tawed goat skin. This proved to be significantly more difficult to do than tanned skin, as the tawed skin gets spongy when pasted out. As a result, the gilding around the edge is not as flat (making the gold less reflective) than it would be had other leather been used for the onlay. The third panel down illustrates blind and gold tooling and onlay work as well. These diamond shapes are actually made with two impressions – the tool is an equilateral triangle that can be turned and doubled up. The central diamond is entirely an onlay with gilding. The two on either side just have onlays in the central part of the shape. The fourth panel from the top has a curvilinear line made with an Ascona tool and has alum tawed skin laid into the impression. The final panel demonstrates gold tooling through repetion of lines and a small square tool.

In the week following Standards, Jeff Peachey came to do his workshop again. As a second year, my main focus during the workshop was to modify a Stanley No. 151 spokeshave for leather paring.

This was not an easy procedure, and I’m very glad that Jeff was there to keep me from completely ruining mine. Peachey has a rather extensive essay about spokeshaves that includes a bit of a history lesson, instructions for the modifications, and links to other articles on the topic. Well worth the read.

During the workshop, I also had time to make a much larger English-style paring knife from an A2 steel blank. I am quite pleased with the result.

The handle is made from water buffalo horn that is mounted with brass screws and epoxy. I also made a horse butt sheath for it.

Finally, I’d like to point to an article that I recently wrote for Archival Products News about a scrapbook rehousing project. During my summer as a Lennox Foundation intern at Iowa State University, I went on a tour of the Archival and University Products facilities. I had a really great experience there, so when Janice Comer asked me to contribute something, I was happy to do so. You can read that article (in PDF form) here.


I’m still working on my post about German paper bindings. Soon to come…