Historical Bindings Project: Field Journals

The next book in the series is the field journal. The others in this series are: a Nag Hammadi codex, a late Coptic binding, a limp vellum binding, an alla rustic binding, limp leather binding, and scrolls.

Unfortunately I have very little information on this binding. My bookbinding teacher, Dan Mezza, learned it from another CBBAG member who at the time worked in the Ontario Archives. This model is based off the field journals in the archives that the binder was working on. The field journals were used when surveying Canada in the 1800s. If anyone has any further information, I’d love to know. This binding is also the work of a stationer rather than a binder.

Let’s take a look at this binding!

To begin with we sewed over flattened cords. The leather strips at the end will eventually be tucked under the end paper — I am still uncertain of their purpose.

The endpapers were a made-endpaper. I love this marbled paper; it reminds me of earth and I think it suits a field journal!

Once the end-papers were on, it was time to deal with the little leather strips — as mentioned they went under the endpaper. We made little slits in the spine that they tuck under. I should mention too that a few layers of paper were laminated together to help make up the cover. The leather tucked through the slits and lay atop the stiffened paper and under the paste down. A space in the endpaper was also cut out to accommodate the bulk of the leather strip so it isn’t noticeable under the endpaper.

To demonstrate that better, here you can see the paper that was used to make the cover. The paper was also attached to a light card that the leather will drum around. The leather tab was tucked through the stiffened paper, and laid flat under the paste down (which is currently the first layer you see under the plastic wrap.

After this we added the leather to the cover.

Then it was time to paste down the endpaper, and create the gusseted pocket. Before the leather was dry on the book we sliced in a small flap. This would be where the gusset lies under.

The gusseted pocket was made with thin leather lined with kozo. It was folded in the shape of a W and one side was glued to the cover. Then we put down a liner of marbled paper, and finally the original endpaper was folded and attached to the other half of the gusset.

And with that, the book was complete! Here are the final photos:

This little model was created while we were waiting for supplies and for the woodshop to be open again after covid restrictions were lifted. It was a fun little project. Next up I’ll post about the wax tablets, and we’re beginning to work on our Gothic model! There are four models left that we for sure want to make. After that we have other ideas but we’ll see what we get up to!

Until next time,

3 thoughts on “Historical Bindings Project: Field Journals

  1. Hi, I work with stationery bindings. The leather bits on head and tail remind me of clothing’s (or clowthings) used to strengthen spines before attaching covers.
    They also remind me of the flanges in library bindings, used to reinforce board attachment. Have a look at both and see if you agree. Also thanks for the posts, they are very interesting!


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