House of Leaves

House of Leaves

About the Project

This book is a personal addition to my own collection. I wanted to do something fun that both challenged and excited me, utilizing the skills I’ve collected thus far in my binding endeavors. 

Design

Methods

I began with the design to be featured on the front cover. After reading this book I almost instantly knew what wanted to accomplish, and set about scouring for artists. The book itself is an enthralling journey, taking readers on a fantastic journey that is both engaging and mystifying. The premise, without giving too much away, is exploring a home that is larger inside than it is outside. Rooms measure bigger, walls are longer, and doors open to rooms not seen on the exterior. To accomplish this custom design I chose Cuir Ciselé as my preferred method. In order to do this properly, vegetable-tanned sheepskin was needed, and water-based coloring dyes.

Thus, I found some sketch work that caught my attention. I’ve long appreciated the geometric shapes containing a “world within” and felt. it would be a perfect way to capture the story, without detracting from the book itself. As with most custom work I do, I combined several different pieces to make my own design, the first of which is the picture of the diamond river backgrounded by mountains and a starry sky. However, I wanted the mountains to feel a bit different, so I chose another drawing from a map that I enjoy. The trees, too, were not detailed enough. So for this, I decided to do them free-hand.

The result turned out better than I’d expected. The leatherwork went well and the coloring took to the material superbly. Bordering the design I chose a 4-inch fillet with geometric patterns, to match the motif of the overall image.  

We are excited to begin working with you. Boston Harbor Bookbindery is experienced in designing custom, one-of-a-kind books for each client.

Whether you’d like to restore a family heirloom, re-bind a personal favorite, or print a book from scratch; we have just what you need to make your dreams a reality.

CUSTOMER

Boston Harbor Books

WHAT WE DID

Full leather binding | Cuir Ciselé | Gold stamping

Bijbel Restoration

Bijbel Restoration

About the Project

Family heirlooms are particularly special in my workshop and this bible is no exception. A Dutch ‘Bijbel’ printed and bound in 1910, survived the long journey across the Atlantic with the Kuiper family (now the Cooper family) and needed some work to bring it in to the new century.

Design

Methods

The original book laid in tattered form, as often many books from this age are these days. Sadly, I didn’t take any photos of the original condition. But suffice to say it was barely being held together. Thankfully, all pages were accounted for and repairs soon began on the rebinding of the Bijbel. 

To repair paper there are many products that exist these days and are widely available. The best, however, is a Japanese product called Kozo Washi paper. Its malleability, wet strength and long fibres make it an excellent choice for binders and conservators alike.

The leather selection was another matter entirely. One of the most popular choices for design binding is Morocco, a fine goat skin that is thin and beautiful to look upon. When I spoke with the family of the Bijbel, we decided to go in a different direction. Sheepskin is less used but no less beautiful. Much thicker than Morocco, 0.8 cm vs 0.2 cm (approximately) it adds weight and thickness to the finished product, not to mention the amount of paring needed to bring it to folding levels. Its grain and hair follicles are much wider, too, as adult sheep have thick fur and live a bit longer before slaughter. Sheepskin has often been seen in the binding world as less desirable to work with, for there are two layers of skin to contend with that can sometimes play off each other, making it difficult to tool and work with gold leaf.

Last, but certainly not least, are the raised sections of the design. A simple cross bordered by in-turned corners brings this design home with a simple and elegant look, intended to last generations. This was achieved with an ‘underlay’ of thicker boards and tooled after coloring was complete. 

We are excited to begin working with you. Boston Harbor Bookbindery is experienced in designing custom, one-of-a-kind books for each client.

Whether you’d like to restore a family heirloom, re-bind a personal favorite, or print a book from scratch; we have just what you need to make your dreams a reality.

Project

The Story of Siegfried

WHAT WE DID

Full leather binding | Inlay | Gold stamping

Monaco Sailing Journal

Monaco Sailing Journal

About the Project

I’ve been asked to make a few sailing journals and this one was a fun project to complete. Commissioned as a gift for a dear friend, the client wanted to capture the recipient’s love for Monaco and the Sea. 

Design

Methods

The stamp design centered around the name of the recipient’s vessel, Tobi, with the addition of a star and the Monaco subtitle. While the binding is full leather, it is quartered white with red panels, simulating the official colors of the Principality of Monaco.

We are excited to begin working with you. Boston Harbor Bookbindery is experienced in designing custom, one-of-a-kind books for each client.

Whether you’d like to restore a family heirloom, re-bind a personal favorite, or print a book from scratch; we have just what you need to make your dreams a reality.

CUSTOMER

Fazendin

WHAT WE DID

Full leather binding | Printing | Gold stamping | Leather tooling

The Story of Siegfried

The Story of Siegfried

About the Project

This book has a special place in my heart. I acquired this book at an estate sale, where many jewels lay hidden among the piles of old books and manuscripts. It is not often that something like this is found at estate sales, but when they are it’s truly a treasure.

The Story of Siegfried, Old Norse Sigurðr, is an infamous tale of heroism and tragedy. It is one of the most detailed tales that’s survived since the Viking Age and it’s been captivating audiences for many generations. This specific version of the tale is told through a Germanic perspective, written by a German-American immigrant from the early 1900s and adapted for English speakers. My immediate thoughts behind wanting to do this project has more to do with legacy than it does my own personal enjoyment. Much like Baldwin states in his dedication, I, too, intend for this book to be enjoyed by my children; giving them a perspective into their hereditary past and sharing the tales that their ancestors might have over a fire on a cold night. 

Design

Methods

The original book was not in the worst shape. It’s held up over the years and there was a great look to it. Given time, though, it would have suffered the fate that many books have from that period. The front illustration is in wonderful condition and still has a magical appearance to it. I decided to keep the original image and use it as an inlay for the front cover. 

The spine was decorated with a fine Morocco and treated with 24k gold tooling to accent the panels and raised bands. I stamped a small gold flower between the title and author section of the decorated panel.

Gallery

The result felt both natural and stylish, emphasizing the already existing beauty in the work. The only true change I needed to make came in the form of the endleaf, where I needed to combine the free pages from the front and back in order to make a complete picture for the front only. The back endleaf was substituted for acid-free black paper. The inlay came out perfectly, matching up with the raised boards almost seamlessly. This is an important aspect when considering inlays or any decoration on the front cover. Any part of the book that is protruding in some way can become a friction point over time, ultimately decreasing the life of the book significantly.

We are excited to begin working with you. Boston Harbor Bookbindery is experienced in designing custom, one-of-a-kind books for each client.

Whether you’d like to restore a family heirloom, re-bind a personal favorite, or print a book from scratch; we have just what you need to make your dreams a reality.

Project

The Story of Siegfried

WHAT WE DID

Full leather binding | Inlay | Gold stamping

Darth Vader Comic Book

Darth Vader

About the Project

This is a first for me and what a fun project it turned out to be! The entire collection of the Darth Vader 2015 series, written by Kieron Gillen and Illustrated by Salvador Laroca and Edgar Delgado, is now compiled into a single leather-bound volume. 

Methods

I decided to keep the design to a minimum and showcase the fine Morocco leather used to encapsulate this tome, with a shined finish meant to evoke the terrifying suit of armor that encases the Dark Lord of the Sith. For the spine decoration, I used 24k gold leaf for the title and year while using a blood red metallic leaf for the raised bands. I’ve never used colored metal before and it turned out wonderful.

Gallery

This book is both beautiful and formidable at the same time. The classically elegant style of traditional bookbinding brings these comics together in one place, yet the size and look are reflective of Darth Vader himself. This is only the first volume I’ve done but I suspect I’ll be doing more of these. There are three series in total and I can’t wait to begin bringing the full set together.

Until then, enjoy!

We are excited to begin working with you. Boston Harbor Bookbindery is experienced in designing custom, one-of-a-kind books for each client.

Whether you’d like to restore a family heirloom, re-bind a personal favorite, or print a book from scratch; we have just what you need to make your dreams a reality.

CUSTOMER

Darth Vader Comic Book

WHAT WE DID

Full leather binding | Gold stamping | Colored Metallic Leaf

The Book of the World

Book of the World

About the Project

Late in 2020 I enrolled in an online course offered by Atlas Obscura about Facts Based Worldbuilding and taught by Moiya McTier, an astrophysicist and folklorist. I was immediately enthralled by the content and loved being a part of building my own world. Since space and other planets are so varied, it was a lot of fun building something completely new and populating it with species specifically adapted the the harsh conditions being set by my fellow students. The challenge was both fun and creative.

At the beginning of the course, I was pretty confident that I’d want to make a special journal to take notes in and continue my own set of worldbuilding creations. I am an ardent fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and have loved his work since I was a small child. I knew when I was very young that I’d wanted to make my own world and write stories about it and this journal will probably be the place I centralize those ideas. 

Methods

I decided to keep the design and structure as simple as possible, all while using the extent of the skills I’ve learned over the years. Fine Morroco leather cases in this book, decorated with 24k gold leaf on the spine with decorative stamps and a fillet. A ‘forest green’ title panel was stamped with the book’s title and volume number (knowing that I will make more in the future). Since this book is meant to contain creative material, I felt it best to keep it simple so as to focus my creativity on the contents within, rather than the outside of the book. A silk blue ribbon, the signature color of Boston Harbor Bookbindery, is attached to the inner-spine to mark the pages of progress.

Inspiration

As I mentioned above, one of my main inspirations is Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, however, I’ve encountered many worlds over the years that have captured my attention and they all have inspired me in some way. The maps you see below are only the latest, of hundreds, I’ve drawn over my life and are the foundation of the world being built. The first map was made using Wonderdraft while the second map was drawn by hand. All the calligraphy in the second map was done by me, after taking a college course in calligraphy in 2017. I created it for my final project of the course.

Gallery

The final result turned out spectacularly and I’m very happy with it. The thick paper is very comfortable to write on and I love having a single place to compile my ideas. I can often flip to a previous entry to ensure continuity, but I mostly use this as a place for notes and drawings. It’s starting to get full already and I suspect Vol.2 will be coming soon!

We are excited to begin working with you. Boston Harbor Bookbindery is experienced in designing custom, one-of-a-kind books for each client.

Whether you’d like to restore a family heirloom, re-bind a personal favorite, or print a book from scratch; we have just what you need to make your dreams a reality.

CUSTOMER

The Book of the World

WHAT WE DID

Full leather binding | Printing Service | Gold stamping

Going to Wings

Going to Wings

About the Project

This year kicked off with a fantastic project that was commissioned as a gift for the author! In early January, I received an email asking if I’d be willing/able to create a one-of-a-kind edition, designed specifically with the author in mind.

I am always thrilled to get work like this because I feel that this is one of the foundational motivators for me as a bookbinder. I work on countless books throughout my day, often for personal libraries of special collectors. While it does not happen very often, I personally love creating special books for the authors who wrote them. There is something hermetically balanced about doing this and I always derive great joy in the finished work.

Design

Geometric illusion for custom book cover.

Methods

To achieve this design, we rely on an old and seldom practiced technique in the worlds of both traditional & contemporary bookbinding: cuir-ciselé. Working with veg-tanned sheepskin, we’d carve the design on the front cover, then dye it Forest Green. The client also requested a decorated border to be stamped on both the front and back covers.

One of the main reasons cuir-ciselé is often avoided is simply due because of how time-consuming it is. While the design is relatively simple, drying and wetting the leather repeatedly takes a few days to fully work itself out.  The leather needs to be 100% dry before any coloring is applied.

 

Finished

The result was a book that was both elegant and tasteful, with a boldness that strikes character in any shelf it sits on. As a large-format book, approx 8.5″ x 11″, it sits well in the hand and feels lovely. This book was commissioned as a gift for the author’s personal library. We were honored to work with the raw manuscript that the author worked on herself. She’d already sent the manuscript to her publisher, however, this book was created as her own special edition.

If you’d like to make something like this book, we’d be happy to help.

Designing a one-of-a-kind edition, restoring a family heirloom, re-binding a personal favorite, or printing a book from scratch; we have just what you need to make the book you’d like.

CUSTOMER

Worsham

WHAT WE DID

Full leather binding | Perfect-bound Conversion | Gold stamping

Bible Recovery

Custom Leather Book

Bible Recovery

About the Project

Recovering a special heirloom is one of my favorite duties as a bookbinder. In some ways, I feel a certain responsibility to help bring life back to objects like this, if at all possible. This project was no exception.

Desiring to restore a book that meant the world to him, the client reached out with a vision in mind and I was happy to help in any way possible. I was not the least bit surprised to learn that the client was advised by some other binders to just “get a new book” and that rebinding this would “not be worth it”. I’ve heard many binders say things like this in the past and it is a bit disheartening.

Books hold a special place in our hearts, the value of which cannot be determined by most measures of cost or labor. To me, it did not matter what the book was made out of or if I felt it was “worth it” because it was worth it to the client. He loves this book and I could immediately feel that love radiating throughout the text-block. I’ve worked on many bibles in the past and rarely have a seen one with notes on almost every page (~2,500 pages or so)!

Design

I X O Y E

Methods

This was a fairly straightforward process and meant to reflect the simple beauty of the book itself. Using copperhead-brown leather and 36pt typeface for the gold stamping, the finished product is both smooth and elegant.

While the original text-block was in shambles, the client was a bit worried if we could do the work without damaging the book in the process. I assured him that we can make this work possible without incident.

IMG_5175 IMG_5174 IMG_5172

The final product turned out wonderfully! The copperhead brown was a great choice to match the original brown and the structure of the book is a solid foundation for a long life ahead.

With thinner boards, each cover is a bit more flexible than my previous books. This was done to give a similar feeling to the original book and partnered well with the thin pages.

Interested?

Boston Harbor Bookbindery is experienced in designing custom, one-of-a-kind books for each client.

Whether you’d like to restore a family heirloom, re-bind a personal favorite, or print a book from scratch; we have just what you need to make your dreams a reality.

 

Contact

How to Relax

How to Relax

About the Project

This project was commissioned as a gift for a dear friend of the client. 

From the book’s description: How to Relax is part of The Mindfulness Essentials series of how-to titles by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, introducing beginners and reminding seasoned practitioners of the essentials of mindfulness practice. Pocket-sized, with original two color illustrations by Jason DeAntonis, How to Relax shows how critical it is to regularly interrupt the hub-bub and routine of our lives to stop, relax mindfully, and recharge.

Thich Nhat Hanh says that when we relax, we become calm water, and we will reflect reality as it is. If we’re not calm, the image we reflect will be distorted. When the image is distorted by our minds, it’s not the reality, and it causes lots of suffering.” Relaxation is essential for accessing the tranquility and joy that lead to increased personal well-being. With sections on healing, relief from nonstop thinking, transforming unpleasant sounds, solitude, being peace, and more,How to Relax includes meditations you can do to help you achieve the benefits of relaxation no matter where you are.

Scientific studies indicate that meditation contributes tremendously to well-being, general health, and longevity. How to Relax is a unique gift for those who want a simple guide to achieving deep relaxation, controlling stress, and renewing mental freshness and clarity, appropriate for those practicing in any spiritual tradition, whether seasoned practitioners or new to meditations.

Design

Methods

To begin this design, I started with color and materials first. The recipient’s favorite color is red, so I chose a fine Morocco from Russels Leather, considered to be some of the best leather available in the bookbinding world. 

With a little effort on Adobe Photoshop, I  quickly worked out a simple design that was both clear and effective. The Hammock is often associated with relaxation and I feel it worked well for the project at hand. 

With such a small spine to work with, I decided that a verticle display would be best for the title and author panels. While it requires a few more steps to achieve, it is no less beautiful when executed correctly.

Finished

The result was a very nice, compact book that is both beautiful and easy to access. Able to be carried in a bag or purse, this book will prove to be a lovely companion during times that require a bit of meditation or thoughtfulness to get through. I’m very happy with how this turned out and the client was, too! In fact, the client decided to give the gift in my bindery when the project was completed. They both came together and I gave them a quick tour. It was truly lovely to be a part of, as I normally just deliver the finished product and start on my next project.

We are excited to begin working with you. Boston Harbor Bookbindery is experienced in designing custom, one-of-a-kind books for each client.

Whether you’d like to restore a family heirloom, re-bind a personal favorite, or print a book from scratch; we have just what you need to make your dreams a reality.

CUSTOMER

Relaxtion Book

WHAT WE DID

Full leather binding | Rebinding | Gold stamping

An Imperfect Light

An Imperfect Light

About the Project

This year kicked off with a fantastic project that was commissioned as a gift for the author! In early January, I received an email asking if I’d be willing/able to create a one-of-a-kind edition, designed specifically with the author in mind.

I am always thrilled to get work like this because I feel that this is one of the foundational motivators for me as a bookbinder. I work on countless books throughout my day, often for personal libraries of special collectors. While it does not happen very often, I personally love creating special books for the authors who wrote them. There is something hermetically balanced about doing this and I always derive great joy in the finished work.

Design

Methods

To achieve this design, we rely on an old and seldom practiced technique in the worlds of both traditional & contemporary bookbinding: cuir-ciselé. Working with veg-tanned sheepskin, we’d carve the design on the front cover, then dye it Forest Green. The client also requested a decorated border to be stamped on both the front and back covers.

One of the main reasons cuir-ciselé is often avoided is simply due because of how time-consuming it is. While the design is relatively simple, drying and wetting the leather repeatedly takes a few days to fully work itself out.  The leather needs to be 100% dry before any coloring is applied.

 

Finished

The result was a book that was both elegant and tasteful, with a boldness that strikes character in any shelf it sits on. As a large-format book, approx 8.5″ x 11″, it sits well in the hand and feels lovely. This book was commissioned as a gift for the author’s personal library. We were honored to work with the raw manuscript that the author worked on herself. She’d already sent the manuscript to her publisher, however, this book was created as her own special edition.

We are excited to begin working with you. Boston Harbor Bookbindery is experienced in designing custom, one-of-a-kind books for each client.

Whether you’d like to restore a family heirloom, re-bind a personal favorite, or print a book from scratch; we have just what you need to make your dreams a reality.

CUSTOMER

Fazendin

WHAT WE DID

Full leather binding | Printing | Gold stamping | Leather tooling