The question of color harmony enters so largely into our furnishings to-day that we are often impelled to try to manufacture in the home workshop articles of daily use which we have failed to procure ready made. Fitness of material is also an important part of this problem of making a room harmoniously beautiful, and this applies even to the bindings of the books, which in a general living room should share the character of the rest of the furniture. In a library there may be scope for elaborate and fanciful bindings, but books like guest books and albums which are used in a living room should be not only durable but simple and sturdy in effect. Albums especially should be built to endure the hard knocks of family life, for in these days of kodaks they hold the record of many a holiday and are frequently referred to. For this reason homemade albums are preferable, for each of the parts may be chosen for some special quality: strong hand-made paper of a dull gray or brown for the leaves, cowhide or sheepskin for the cover, and the coloring of the whole selected with a thought as to the style of photographic paper the family kodak fiend affects, a brown color scheme for sepia prints, blue-gray with gray-brown covers for black and white. If more vivid color is desired there is a certain leather prepared with vegetable dye called Niger Morocco, to be had in a dull red which deepens with age.
The making of an album is a task which requires no great skill, although patience and accuracy are essential. Let the would-be binder investigate the family workshop and see that he has in hand the following: a hard pencil; a ruler with a metal edge; two pairs of dividers, both large and small; a carpenter's try square; an awl; a large paste brush; a glue pot and brush; a couple of good smooth boards. There are also necessary some drawing instruments, a T-square and triangles, and a few special book-binder's tools, an ivory paper knife, called technically a bone folder, a paring knife for leather, a small letter press, a finishing press, backing boards and a backing hammer. This small outfit, although it seems to contain so many articles, may be bought for a few dollars. For more advanced work a sewing frame is also essential.
In the way of materials, a few sheets must be procured of bookboards of various styles, strawboard, a finer style for delicate work, and a few sheets of paper of the desired color. Half a dozen sheets of charcoal paper make a good-sized album. Two sheets of a mottled paper called Morris or Oxford make pretty end papers, and the coloring may harmonize with that of the leaves. A quantity of cheap un-printed newspaper sheets should be kept on hand to cover delicate work; there should also be at least two sets of smooth tins and a yard of coarse book linen.
The album is best made with flexible covers, and should be made all in one section, that is, one set of leaves folded one inside another. Six sheets of paper will be ample.
Take one sheet and lay it out on a large flat board. Divide the left edge into three equal
Folding Sheets For Album.
parts and draw lines across at right angles to the left edge. Find the center of the top edge and draw a line down exactly at right angles to the cross lines. Mark corners with Xs as shown in the drawing. Cut the cross lines with a sharp knife held against the edge of a metal rule, and fold each piece very carefully on the up and down line, so that the upper edges exactly coincide. Cut and fold each sheet in the same way. This gives eighteen sheets, two of which may be made into end papers. Cut a piece of Morris paper the size of each of the two sheets. Lay them figured side down on a clean sheet of paper. Dip a large paste brush into flour paste which has been strained smooth, and cover every part of the paper, holding it in the center with the thumb and fore-finger. Lay the charcoal paper on the Morris paper, lay a clean paper over and rub down with the bone folder. Do each end paper the same way, and put them to press between tins covered with clean papers.
When they are perfectly dry take out of the press and fold, figured side in. Rub down the creases with the bone folder. Cut a piece of book linen one and one-half inches wide and the length of the fold just made. Paste this and lay the two end papers on it about one-sixteenth of an inch apart. Press till dry, and fold around the other sheets, with the book linen out, as it will come between the book and the cover. Press the book thoroughly, and knock it up, holding it between the two hands and tapping the head or top on a horizontal surface. Next place the book on a stone and lay a try square across the head as shown in the sketch, being careful that the try square is exactly perpendicular to the back of the book. This is all the cutting of edges necessary in an album, so the next step, after the book has been well pressed, is sewing. This should be done with embroidery silk, of a color to blend with the book, or contrast with it. Orange silk is effective in a brown album. The stitches should be an inch apart, and holes should be pricked through pencil marks laid off with a rule before any stitches are taken. Begin inside, leaving a thread an inch long. The stitches go over and under, from top to bottom, returning in the same holes with an effect like back-stitching. When the top has been reached tie the ends of silk in a flat knot, cut about two inches long and fray out the ends.
End Paper with Linen.
Cutting Head or Top of Book.