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Re: [BKARTS] Gluing Leather to Buckram, or other suggestions for attaching a metal


I did this quite frequently about 15 years ago. The method that worked for me was somewhat different than your current approach, but was very simple, effective, and my clients were happy with it.

I used leather for these projects for the same reason I bind any well-used book in leather - as it wears, the leather will take on an aged patina that doesn't detract from the book throughout its life. With cloth, wear and dirt can make the cloth age faster than the metal and begin to look worn.

The cost for leather while greater, often isn't an issue with wedding albums. 

The way I do this is to make a window on the cover where the metal will be and build up a two-thickness board. Cutting the window out of the top laminate - allows for the metal to be recessed into the cover. There are several advantages to this:

No metal edges to bang against flesh as metal, no matter how you "dull" a corner or edge likes to bite soft flesh.

The metal is recessed below the surface of the cover, so there's little chance of snagging it and pulling it loose.

Making a "traditional" case binding is much easier than laminating raw-edged metal on top of a board, with cover material underneath it.

Metal panel inset can be any size of the book cover - up to about 1/2" smaller. 

Laminate your window board to the base - you might need to use anywhere from 60 pt. bd. to 120 pt. bd. depending on leather thickness and metal thickness.

Add those two dimensions together, and that will decide board thickness. You can laminate two different thicknesses of board together - the lower panel could be 60 pt. and the upper 120 pt. because it's a perimeter bond and won't likely curl the cover. Also the metal will lend rigidity to the board to achieve flatness.

Build your case as you normally would, and keep the piece of board you cut out for the window. Cut it smaller by 2x the thickness of your covering material in both directions - because you've got the cover material going into the recess twice in each direction.

Once the cover material is on and the edges turned in, put the cut-out window panel in the covered recess. Now press till your regular adhesive has set up. There will be a sharp indentation that delineates the window now and this recess is where you will place the metal panel.

Now I'm going to publish a trade secret. It's not mine - I stole it from dead craftspeople, so I don't feel bad about giving it away on the internet:

Coat the back of your metal panel with shellac. I use a spray shellac, but you can use the goopy kind and brush it on - not too thick and it should be an even coat. It'll take about 5 - 10 minutes to dry. Now your metal panel will easily accept any adhesive you choose to use. I use Elvace, but any adhesive will now stick to the metal. Put an even coat of adhesive on the shellaced-metal and place the panel in the window. Now place the window-cutout board on the metal panel and press evenly till dry. Take care in doing this step - if you use a screw press be careful that you don't torque or twist the panel when bringing the panel into contact.

Now you're done.

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