Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Black Duke - the Diary (part 2)

Continuing from The Black Duke - the Diary (part 1)...

So, there we were with the book block of the blank sketch book all aged  and the cover newly wrapped in brown leather. We still have a little prep work to do to each before we "case in".

I intended to use the outermost pages of the book block as the end papers, so I didn't need to attach new end papers to the book block. However, I did need to attach a mull to the spine of the book block. This would take the weight of the book and hold it into the case. I used my usual arrangement of cheese cloth and kraft paper, attached with white glue, as the mull.
I also needed to paste in some card stock leafs over the edges of the leather. This would soften the transition from the boards to the leather, so that it didn't show a big hard edge under the end paper. In this picture, it looks like there is some extraneous glue along the edges of the leather. I don't remember exactly what happened here, but it looks like I masked the area off for the size of the end papers instead of for the card stock, when I applied the spray glue. Oops.
Before casing in, I also took some sand paper and roughed up the edges of the leather a bit. I would continue to add more and more aging in this way until I was happy with it, but in this picture it looks like I had just gotten a good start on it.
Here is the book, all cased in and ready for some more aging. You can see in the bottom corner, there is a flaw in the leather. That is where I slipped with the skiving knife and put a small hole while thinning the edges. Normally this would have been a tragic flaw, but in this case it was not a problem. The book was supposed to look old and abused, so any flaw like that only added to its character. Anyways, I had an idea how to hide it.
I sanded the leather some more, especially at the corners and on the top and bottom edges where it would receive the most wear. I also used a propane torch to char the flawed corner. This made it look like perhaps the diary had been thrown into the fireplace, only to be rescued in the nick of time. I also gave it several good rub downs with mink oil so that the sanded leather would look like the wear happened a long time ago. The hardest thing to age was the leather thong. It seemed like whatever I did, it still looked too new. First I tried soaking it in a calcium chloride solution (sidewalk de-icer). I had a pair of sued gloves that got ruined that way once. But it didn't work. I tried sanding it to get rid of the sharp edges. I tried greasing it down with mink oil and burnishing the surface to get rid of the new look. But in the end the only thing that made it look old and used was the propane torch. That shriveled it up and burned off the nice fuzzy new finish really quickly. I did have to be careful not to overdo it, else I risked making the thong too brittle and breaking it. I think it could have taken a little more, but I was happy with it.

Here are some glamor shots of the finished product.
Notice here, how the leather thong passes through the slits in the back cover. This picture makes it much easier to see what I was talking about. As always, click through to enbiggen the images.
This was the first item in this project to be started and the first to be finished. It was by far the simplest of the three items. I was quite happy with the outcome. I thought it looked pretty good, but the best was yet to come...

Stay tuned for the next installment of the The Black Duke project; the Box.

See also:
The Black Duke - the Diary (part 1)
The Black Duke - the Box (part 1)
The Black Duke - the Box (part 2)
The Black Duke - the Box (part 3)
The Black Duke - the Tome (part 1)
The Black Duke - the Tome (part 2)
The Black Duke - the Set (fini)


  1. Looks great! I especially like the flawed corner....nice example of working with, rather than trying to cover, a mistake.