Medieval Pocketbooks in Oakland

Four people showed up for the Medieval Pocketbook and made steady progress throughout the day.

The text block consisted of six signatures  totaling 96 pages. They folded, punched and sewed on cords.

Punching holes in signatures in preparation for sewing

Punching holes in signatures in preparation for sewing

When that was completed, they pasted up the spine and set the text block aside. The next challenge was to take wooden boards and shape them with a chisel. The shaping is designed to keep the book from being too heavy and remove edges that can hurt the owner or get damaged in use. Two students had never used a chisel before, so they were excited to develop some skill in using this tool.

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Once the boards were shaped, they drilled the boards to accept the cords and cut a channel for the cords to lay in.

A quick lining of the spine with linen helps to consolidate the connection of text block to board attachment.

They chose leather and decided about metal decoration next. In some instances, leather was applied prior to metal, and in others, metal went on the boards first.

Metal selection

Metal selection

As the afternoon wound up, the books were completed to the level each student wanted. (One student wanted to make an exposed model to remind her of the structure).

Notes by Jennie Hinchcliff of RedLetterDayZine

Notes by Jennie Hinchcliff of RedLetterDayZine

Making something from paper, thread, wood, leather and metal gives one insight into the mechanics of the reading machine called “book” and it continues to enthrall the craftsperson that makes one.

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Finished books!

Finished books!

I’ll be doing this again on February 9th, for those that couldn’t make it last Saturday.


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