“A book on cheap paper does not convince. It is not prized, it is like a wheezy doctor with pigtail tobacco breath, who needs a manicure.”
— Elbert Hubbard
One of my prized possessions does nothing but make me angry.
It’s an autographed copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Deadeye Dick” that’s signed: “And for Chris. Kurt Vonnegut.” What ticks me off is that the paperback itself is disintegrating. The binding is falling apart. The pages are yellowing, fragile and feel like they are disappearing into the air.
I’m almost afraid to pick it up and read it. And it’s one of my favorite books.
When we publish a book here at Lost Art Press, we want to make sure it outlives us. We use acid-free paper; we get the book’s signatures sewn and glued. We use thick boards covered in cloth.
And now we’ve gone over the top.
When we sent “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” to the printer in Pennsylvania, we asked to keep any leftover copies from the print run without the hardback boards. We got a few boxes of these spineless book guts, and they have been sitting in my basement since November.
Recently I took some to the Ohio Book Store in downtown Cincinnati, which has a binding division that specializes in restoration work and creating fine volumes for libraries and private collectors. The work of the three restoration specialists there was superb, so I asked them to finish these books like a mid-19th-century volume.
The result is beautiful.
What you see here in the photos is aged calfskin on heavy boards with marbled endsheets. The spine of the book is shaped to give it a nice curve, much like high-quality vintage books. The cover and spine are hand lettered in gold.
It is a delight, both to look at and read in this form.
We’ve asked Ohio Book to bind 26 of these books like this, which we’ll offer for sale here and on the Tools for Working Wood web site. These books will be signed by me and Joel Moskowitz (the other modern author of the book). They will include the DVD, which will be glued into a sleeve at the back of the book. And each book will be lettered (“A” through “Z”) and marked with the year, 2009.
The book should be available in a couple weeks, so save your pennies. Price: $165.
Believe me, this isn’t about making money. The profit margin on this kind of hand work is pretty slim. But because we thought that offering a vintage binding on this important book would be a cool thing for our libraries, we thought you might feel the same way.
So if “Joiner and Cabinet Maker” ever does become one of your favorite things (and it’s fast becoming one of mine) you can be sure that it will be around long enough to also become a favorite thing of your grandchildren.
— Christopher Schwarz
“Hand-covered books break up friendships. You loan a hand-covered book to a friend and when he doesn’t return it you get mad at him. It makes you mean and petty. But twenty-five cent books are different.”
— John Steinbeck
6 thoughts on “'The Joiner and Cabinet Maker' Hand-bound in Leather”
I prefer "Sirens of Titan" or "Cat’s Cradle" or "Breakfast of Champions" or "Player Piano"…..nevermind…..I guess like them all! Would love to have a signed copy though. Maybe you should put contact paper over the signature page or laminate it or heck even frame it!
My signed copy of star ship troopers by Robert Heinlein is falling apart as well. I hate to dig it out an read it, but cant resist.
How can I preorder? Take my money! Are you going to run a lottery if swamped with interest?
I have a copy of the Declaration of Independence (wouldn’t it be nice to have one of the original copies!) on parchment, it’s really neat to hold and the way that the print pops is quite impressive.
The company that makes it is in NY (I believe) called Pergamena
Edmund Bacon, renowned urban planner, 94 years old, at the opening of the auction selling off his personal library stood up and said "There are two types of people in this world- regular people and Rare Book Nuts." Now the Rare Book Nuts among the Hand Tool Nuts have a place where the circles cross.
The closest thing I have to a piece of treasure is a first edition, signed copy of an Edward Gorey book. Maybe the nicest gift I have ever received. If I had the money I would put one The J&CM on the shelf near it.
I would love to be included on your list for the leather bond edition. What a wonderful idea!
Sorry about the sentence structure on the first round (be) – My brain is going faster than my hands can type!
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