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Streamlining Editions ( was Edition Work)



I wanted to respond to the thread Kevin Thomas started last week with his
query on edition binding for those who don't normally do that. I couldn't
take time to participate then because I was in the throes of doing just
that. Like Kevin, I'm a one- person binder usually restoring or repairing
books one at a time and am not set up to do more than a few books at a
time. Several years ago, I bound 3 volumes of miniatures, 3 sewn signatures
each, in editions of 75. I set things up assembly-line fashion and remember
having no problems; the experience was an enjoyable one.

The work I am doing now, about half finished, cannot be compared to making
75 miniatures. It is an edition of 25 of a book that I designed, edited,
and printed on my HP2100 laser printer. I subscribe to all of the
suggestions Mary Crest makes in her letter. (see below)

I am not using a sewing table for this many books because I find it slows
me down too much setting up the tapes for each book (I tried doing more
than one at a time once but it didn't work for me). Had a brainstorm when I
made the piercing template. I used a piece of heavy clear plastic, folded
lengthwise, pierced the sewing stations in that and use it in the cradle.
The holes stay the same size and it's easy to find the next hole by simply
sliding the awl or stylus along until you hit the next hole. Pretty nifty!

I'm supposed to have the 25 books completed by the day after tomorrow. I'm
not going to make it because Murphy's Law is still in effect and you all
know what happens to the best laid plans of mice and men. I didn't plan to
lose the whole month of January trying to get rid of the worst case of
bronchitis I've ever had. Couldn't do more than think about all the binding
I needed to do.

Then, the printer screwed up the paper order and I had only a fourth of
what I needed. Turned out that the person estimating the amount of paper I
would need for 25 copies of a 12 sixteen-page signature book was calling a
folded sheet of paper a signature. Printers and binders speak different
languages.

Next delay: my printer does not like running short-grain paper two-sided. I
managed to get a paper jam that I could not clear. Had to have HP Repair
send out a refurbished identical model in exchange for mine. That only cost
me a two-day delay during which I made and foil stamped 25 cases.  Now when
I print, I make sure the paper has had a good chance to relax and get back
some moisture before printing the second side.

There have been other snafus too numerous to mention. I can safely
recommend that you allow siz times as much time to do a job than it's
supposed to take.

Don't get me wrong; I thrive on frustration. I'm having the time of my
life. I really must stop writing and get back to work so I'll have time to
watch the whales as they travel back to Alaska. I can see them from my
house on the northern California coast.


From: Mary Crest <MARYCREST@AOL.COM>
Kevin,

This is in response to your request for hints to ease the process of edition
making.

We have found the secret is to set up assembly style and make lots of jigs to
facilitate every chore. Whether you are measuring, bone folding, cutting
stock,  sewing, gluing, etc., isolate each step and see what you can figure
out to do in rapid succession. Each book requires different types of jigs.
Sometimes we brainstorm until we arrive at the best solution.

For example, some of the jigs we've made:

For a house shaped book, we cut aluminum to size and shape, including windows
and doors. We then had the pattern to mark the stock. We knew immediately
where to cut and/or score, and trace the lines surrounding the shapes that
will be removed. It relieves the guesswork.

If there are popups, these are painted, marked and cut in assembly line
fashion, ready to insert.

For soft-cover portfolios, we mark all portfolio folds (sometimes using a
sharp pencil, but more often, the tip of an Exacto knife, which leaves no
marks). We lay each portfolio on a pre-marked grid and bone fold and/or cut
on each cutting line as pre-designated.

For boxes, we cut all the boards (of each measurement) at one time, and mark
them with a letter or number. This assures that all parts are ready for
assembly, and are on the proper grain. We do the same with the bookcloth.

For sewing, we use a sewing cradle, place the signature, and lay a V shaped
strip of card stock with pre-marked sewing holes.

We don't yet have a sewing frame, but now that Tim Ely is marketing his
design, which I used and liked, we'll soon be saving time on sewing!

We have found that it goes faster (which isn't to say 'fast' at all! :-) to
group all like steps and do them in succession. We set a doable quota per day
and try to pace the work, interspersing the edition with other non-edition
activities.

We have found this a meditative way to work. New solutions are required for
each project and each stage of each project, but soon you will have a
vocabulary of techniques to draw from, as well as personal preferences.

There may be some stages that are simply too complicated. You can either
simplify the design or subcontract those. This category might include such
things as dye cutting, photoengraving, or perhaps dealing with a medium with
which you may not be familiar, etc.

Remember that the simplest design requires several steps. Double or triple
the time you think it will take. I can almost guarantee the first few
editions you do will more likely quadruple the time you have allotted. In
time, you learn to avoid changes midstream, no matter how great the idea,
because even the simplest change requires several additional steps per book

Hope this helps point you in the right direction. Above all, enjoy the
process!

Mary Crest

Betty Storz   storz@mcn.org
Mendocino, CA

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