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A Tiny Press Calls for a Tiny Book

Over the past year, I’ve been working on an exhibit revolving around the work I do in Conservation Services and the Collection Services Division as a whole. As luck would have it, Beth has this wonderful miniature book press that fit perfectly into the display case I was in charge of designing.

But what is a book press without a book to press? With that in mind, I took this opportunity to make my first miniature book.

First, I made a tiny book block.

I left the paper longer than it needed to be so that I could weigh the pages down while I sewed it all together. Once that was done, I decided it would be nice to try and round the spine. This proved to be a bit difficult with the normal tools we use for rounding.

I felt I was more likely to just crush the entire spine with the hammer than actually round it. A Teflon folder made for a safer option for this tiny spine.

Next, I needed to trim the book block to a more appropriate size. I started to cut it with just a scalpel and a ruler, but as you can see that wasn’t really going well or looking particularly nice.

I decided instead to try to trim the book in a more traditional method. This meant placing the book block into a press and using a sharp, flat blade to cut across the pages evenly.

This was much more successful and I ended up with a nice and neat book block.

After that, I covered the spine with a Japanese tissue for strength. Then I added a textile spine lining as well as a paper lining for additional support.

Now I could make the covers, which ended up being the easiest part of this whole process.

The hardest part came next, which was casing the book block into the covers. Because the book is so tiny, it was difficult to make sure the book didn’t move out of place as I glued up the paper that would connect the book block to the covers.

I eventually managed to figure it out and put the book in a press to dry flat.

I have to say it looks a bit silly in the full-sized press.

But once it was dry, the book was done!

It certainly fits in much better with a press its own size.

You can check out this tiny press with its tiny book, along with the rest of the great displays my colleagues put together, in the exhibit The Library Uncovered: Behind the Scenes with Collection Services that is currently open to the public in the Jerry and Bruce Chappell Family Gallery in Perkins.

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