Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Atlas of Barlowe the Explorer

Today is a day off from the evil bathroom.

Today was the completion, heck the beginning all the way to the end, of the first copy of Barlowe's Atlas. If you don't know what it is, well, I can't tell you.

The challenge: Create a book from a stack of paper, some file folders, a piece of cotton canvas, a piece of ribbon, a piece of leather cord and a bunch of glue. Lots and lots of glue.

First order of business, figure out a way to get all those pages to stick together. My plan, since the sheets are not intended to be folded, is to use my sewing machine to stitch small sections (about four sheets) together. Here are the completed sections, ready for the first encounter with glue.

I put rubber cement on the edge past the stitching, matched up the edges as best I could and got it all stuck together. We ran around like crazy people looking for the clamps. We couldn't find the clamps anywhere. I did a quick search on the web, to try to show Honey what I wanted when I realized we have a vise in the basement. Some scrap lumber and a couple turns on the vise, and the pages were left to become more book-like.

While the pages were getting all stuck together, I went to work on the cover. Simple cotton canvas, purchased at the fabric store for less than I'd thought it would be. I glued shut file folders and cut each to fit the pages of the book. More rubber cement to get everything stuck together.

I added more rubber cement to get all the loose threads from stitching the pages together as well as to hold the bookmark ribbon. I used another piece of the canvas to cover up all the space used to glue it all together.

I asked Honey to poke some holes in the now well stuck pages of the book. Here was the quick and easy answer. It also kept the amount of tearing I was afraid of down to a minimum. Once I had the cover done, he did the same with it.

Holes everywhere there needed to be holes. I began the process of weaving the leather in and out of the holes. I didn't want the holes to be so big you could definitely see them once the lacing was in, so it was a challenge to get it in. I used a pair of needle-nose pliers to get it done.

After tightening all the lacing, I had to decide how to finish off the lacing. After two attempts (actually, I ended up with the first version) I got it right.

I got out the glue, and got back to making it all stick together. This time I glued down the end papers, to complete the project. Put it under a stack of heavy books to make sure it all stayed flat long enough for the glue to set, wait a little while.... and success!

No flashy cover, no fancy graphics, just a simple tome.

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