Part 3: Traveler Honored By Selection as a 'Sister City' Gift

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Templates and Debossing

A piece of Mylar rolled into a tube.

Templates used to create debossed panels in paper

I made a new page guide from Mylar and mounted all my debossing templates on Mylar. This is an improvement over my previous page template system because it lets me work with a light table.

A page positioned over a debossing template. A bone folder is resting on the page.

Pages with debossed panels

Pages after debossing

Page Assembly

Magnesium dies for the page numbers of Traveler

Trimmed pictures and debossed pages for Traveler

After debossing the panels to contain the images, I have to stamp the page numbers, mount the pictures and assemble the folio components.

With all that done, the book blocks can be sewn.

Sewing the Blocks

Two books sewn on cords showing the spines before any finish work has been done

Detail of thread wrapping around a sewing cord

Traveler is a packed sewing. This keeps the spine from compressing; necessary since all the mounted photos make the middle of the pages thicker than the spine.

With 5 cords on each book, packing takes a while. Very fussy work.

Last updated: 2016-08-30 | Published:

Part 2: Traveler Honored By Selection as a 'Sister City' Gift

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There's been a lot of water under the bridge since I last made a copy of Traveler. Pulling out all the jigs, dies, documents and components I was happy to discover this.

One page of a production-guide for Geir Jordahl's and Don Drake 'Traveler' containing image thumbnails, page number, deboss template codes and other key information

Stamping and debossing the pages

A detail of one page from Geir Jordahl's and Don Drake 'Traveler' showing the blind-stamped arabic and and kanji page numbers and the debossed panel in the page where a photo is mounted.

This detail shows the page numbering. Since Traveler is designed to accommodate both western and eastern book norms, there is no front or back. As a result, each image page has two index numbers; the arabic and kanji numbers ascend from opposite ends of the book, crossing in the middle. Here is page 34 (western) and 3 (eastern).

The detail also shows the debossed panel that contains the image. Geir's photos were shot on a wide variety of panoramic cameras resulting in a many aspect ratios for the prints. Templates had to be made for each different image format.

A light table with an open drop-spine box on it

With the task of debossing image panels looming, I needed to clean my light table off. No horizontal surface is safe in my studio and there was a long accumulation on this table. This tool is in my old garage studio that served for 10 years.

Last updated: 2016-08-24 | Published:

A first American edition of 'The Secret Garden' in need of repair and a copy of The Repair of Cloth Bindings (Arthur W. Johnson) on a bench top

Repairing A First Edition 'Secret Garden'

Repairing a cloth binding with broken hinges and some loose plates. more

Part 2: One Poem Series: Books 5 & 6

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Kate Jordahl and Don Drake check the proofs for the books 5 & 6 of their One Poem Series collaboration

The proofs came in and Kate came over so we could look them over. Is it actually possible to get proofs with no typos? Couldn't prove it by me. And there is a little correction to do on the images. So we'll have one more round after this.

The paper is supposed to arrive from the mill next week. We expect to be on press before Labor Day.

Last updated: 2016-08-23 | Published:

Part 1: Traveler Honored By Selection as a 'Sister City' Gift

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In August 2016, a Bay Area city which is near and dear to our hearts was selected as an All American City in a nationwide competition. And this city, in turn, selected Geir Jordahl's and Don Drake's collaboration, Traveler as the gift to their Sister city.

Boxes of silver prints for Geir Jordahl's and Don Drake's collaboration, Traveler

If this all sounds somewhat vague, rest assured, we'll provide more details when we can. But we can state with certainty; We are very proud to have our work selected for this honor.

This means all the photographs and pages are coming out for inventory and new copies will be bound.

Last updated: 2016-08-22 | Published:

Part 1: One Poem Series: Books 5 & 6

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Here and End are the final two books of Kate Jordahl's and Don Drake's One Poem Series.

The files have gone to the printer so we should have a press date soon.

These are the reference prints for proofing.

Reference prints of the photos for book 5 & 6 of Kate Jordahl's and Don Drake's One Poem Series

Last updated: 2016-08-22 | Published:

Global Warming Survival Kit, a mini-book by Don Drake for a book exchange with 6 other book artists

Designing The Global Warming Survival Kit

This project was unusual for me. The idea came more or less fully formed. I made a quick sketch on the white board getting down the basics; that was... more

The end of a piece of copper wire showing the sharp end after cutting it to length. Also show are the jewelers files that will be used to take the sharp edges off.

A Wire Bracket for Displaying or Photographing Miniature Books

Some designs and details of making wire brackets to safely hold small books open. more

One copy of Don Drake's mini flip book 'The Day I Met George'

The Day I Met George - Video Overview

This video contains content 'spoilers'. For a non-spoiler preview visit the project gallery more

Part 2: Designing Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road

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Preliminary sketch overlay with production notes for Don Drake's book 'Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road'

I've learned to leave myself many notes as I work. Even if I never refer to them again, the act of writing them seems to cement them in my memory. And if I do forget as new ideas sweep me along, they often pull me back to beneficial trains of thought.

Last updated: 2016-08-02 | Published:

Part 1: Designing Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road

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Preliminary and planning sketches on vellum overlaying a first draft of text output for Don Drake's book 'Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road'

I still have the ongoing distraction of a bathroom remodel (which is my wife's summer project for us), but I feel I've been too long away from the Chicken book. (Obsessing with the election is not helping either)

Illustrating this book and planning how I want to print it is far outside my comfort zone. So legitimate delays quickly become a problem of overcoming creative inertia.

So, to alleviate my growing sense of 'stuck', I pulled up the sketches and studies I've accumulated and started a new design overlay on the text output. I'm finding I'm a little more able to visualize what I want in certain areas. So the time away bore some fruit. The December deadline should be attainable. But my October appearance at the [](Book Arts Jam) may not be possible. I'll have something to show but probably not a finished book.

Last updated: 2016-08-02 | Published:

Part 4: Creating A Container for Two Books By Cari Ferraro

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Cari's too books being test fit in the box once again after the finger openings have been cut

And the books go back in the box again. This time the finger pulls are cut and I'm looking at the height of the walls and how the books will be removed from the box.

And end view of a box showing two books, one lifted on shims to estimate the bottom liner that should be constructed.

Normally, I make the bottom liner for boxes over 12 pt card and the finished liner is about 1mm thick. This time I'm going to cover .07 or .08 board and make the liner a tiny bit smaller than the books. This will raise the books up from the bottom and cantilevered slightly so it's easy to get your finger tips under the edge and remove the book.

If the books sat flat to the bottom, you might need to pick at them a little to get them up and this might lead to damage.

Last updated: 2016-07-20 | Published:

Part 3: Creating A Container for Two Books By Cari Ferraro

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A detail showing the gap between content and wall of a box containg books

Now that the box size has been modified (and the spreadsheet has been updated), the internal tolerance looks much better. I don't want the books to rub when taken in and out, but I want to keep the gap small enough so when the box with its content is moved around, the content doesn't have enough space to build up damaging acceleration forces.

Carving out finger gaps in the wall of a box after partial construction

Now I'm starting to cut the finger gaps so the books can be easily removed from the box. Normally, I cut these before assembly. But since the walls are so shallow and the segments so short (and numerous), this would have caused a lot of trouble in construction. Much easier in this case to mark and them after assembly and peel them out, layer by layer.

The side of a box with an interior divider showing two finger gaps in the wal;

The completed finger gaps on one side of the box.

Last updated: 2016-07-20 | Published:

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