Saturday, May 9, 2009

Public BoS

Ohio is not really a hot bed of pagan activity. There are only maybe a dozen (physical) pagan shops in the whole state. Many of the owners know each other from various functions, festivals and meet-n-greets. A few weeks ago, my clerk at my shop visited our closest competition (about 30 miles away, in Akron) just to have a look around. My clerk and I have both met the owner numerous times, she is very nice, but neither of us had ever made it up to her shop to check it out, so she made the trip to get a feel for her shop and to see what kinds of things she carried and of course to compare notes on decoration and presentation.

One of the things that her shop did, that mine did not, was to have a public Book of Shadows for customers to peruse. Just a collection of a few simple spells, kept in plastic sleeves in a three ring binder and set on a dictionary stand. People would use it as an easy reference guide. She said that having it had helped increase her sales of some of the components listed on its pages. I thought the idea was a very good one, but I didn't much care for the way it was executed. I decided to do something similar, but with more style. Toni (my clerk) set about researching a few dozen simple spells to be included in the book, while I set about the physical construction of the project.

I had a flat pack two drawer wooden file cabinet, very nicely made, that I had been sitting on for over a year. I had intended to make some modifications to it (a la the Pentagram Altar Table), but had never gotten around to it. I decided that it would be perfect for the stand for our public BoS. I was actually quite impressed with the quality of the piece once it was put together. It was made by O'Sullivan. Sadly, that company seems to be out of business. That's a real shame, because this cabinet, and another table I have from them in my house, are two of the nicest pieces of flat pack furniture I have ever seen.

I also happened to have a simple book stand/lectern top that I scavenged from the trash at my former job at the oil refinery. It was made from melamine laminated particle board, and it was badly swelled on the one edge. I soaked the edge in wood glue and put it in some aggressive clamps overnight and that helped with the swelling significantly. I gave it a few quick coats of flat black paint and a little gold rub-n-buff on the bottom edge and it looked good as new.

I scrounged up a nice brass pot to use as a pen holder and I printed up a stack of 5x8 sheets of scratch paper with the store's name and address on the top, which I then rubber cemented into a neat little notepad. These would also be seated on top of the wooden cabinet, so that customers could jot down notes about the spells they wanted to do, and create their shopping lists for their needed components. All that was left to make was the book itself.

I wanted something that could use three hole punched pages, but that wouldn't look like a three ring binder. I also wanted to be able to insert or rearrange pages after it was made. I decided to use "Chicago" style screw posts and to make a pair of nice front and back covers from wood and leather. After about a day's worth of visualizing my design. I started fabricating. The covers were made from two pieces of hardboard, cut to size, then with some chipboard trim added around three edges. Then I covered the boards with some nice dark green leather. A flap of leather, stiffened with card stock, was left on the spine edge. This is where the three hole punches would pierce the cover. Grey end papers finished off the inside surface.

I needed the post screws to go through the covers to hold them on, but I didn't want them to be seen, so I made a spine out of brown leather to wrap around the spine edge and cover the post screw heads. This I glued on with rubber cement, so that it could be easily removed to add pages. For the final embellishments, I added some cast resin finials and a chipboard representation of the store's logo, finished with black paint and rub-n-buff.

Toni is still in the process of putting together the spells for the interior, but the few sections she did send me, I laid out in a nice font with Open Office and printed on a pale yellow paper (though I would have preferred a cream color).

Because I'm sure we will have several people ask if they can buy the book right off of the stand, I am making a few others (but blank) of the same design.

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