The Nine Gates - NEW PHOTOS (page 12)

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by Flattery, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Hello, folks.

    I'm now ready to pursue a replica of The Nine Gates, and being a bookbinder, I'm quite ready for it. The only thing I need is a set of the woodcuts.

    I have the set located here: The Nine Gates to the Kingdom of Shadows Tutorial « APOCalyptic PRODuctions

    What I'm missing are the varied woodcuts, and a good image (print quality) of the genuine 9th engraving, along with the forged LCF version.

    Does anyone have these available and would be willing to help?

    I plan to bind the book properly, with laced-in covers, period-accurate paper, etc. Now that I'm in between large projects in the shop, I have the spare time within the next couple of months to work on this, and would like to get started as soon as possible.

    Thanks,
    ~F.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  2. Rogue428

    Rogue428 New Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    Shoot me an email. My site is ApocProd. I'll hook you up. Sending you a PM.
     
  3. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    Can't wait to see it!
     
  4. Too Much Garlic

    Too Much Garlic Master Member

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    Interesting project. Looking forward to see more.
     
  5. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    Thanks for the quick assistance, Rogue -- email sent!

    Here's a test print that I did yesterday (not full black) to see how well the paper would match the period. Looking good so far. It's 98% pima cotton with 2% cotton rag content, a recipe I found in a book containing 17th. C. binding formulas. I'm more of an 18th and 19th C. bookbinder, by 17th isn't too far off for me to handle.

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    You may notice that the text and woodcut are offset in their placement toward the outer margins of the paper. This is because some of the white space in the middle of the folded section will be absorbed into the "gutter" created by rounding and backing the spine in the classical fashion.

    It will take me a while to get the pages printed (I"ll be typesetting them in InDesign and printing each leaf individually to get best results), but once that's done, I'll be posting progress photos of the binding. It will be a traditional "fastback" binding, meaning that the leather will be adhered onto the bands on which the pages are sewn (laced into covers), and directly onto the edges of the folded sections. However, the sewing style used will be period accurate and will allow for flexibility so that the book will lay flat.

    Cheers!
    F.
     
  6. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    Looks good! Any ideas about which version of the book you will do?
     
  7. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    @Clutch: I can immediately work on the Tefler/Balkan copy. All the woodcuts I have match that particular book.

    However, if I can get all variations in the woodcuts, plus either the forged or genuine 9th engraving (preferably both -- the genuine one I've scoured for and turned up nothing useful), I'd like to bind all three copies. It will take some time, though, to crank those out. Each book requires about 7 days from beginning the folding of the sections to final pressing. Classical work is certainly not for the timid, but I've spent years learning the craft with some regular help from my mentor, M. Chrisman.

    Here's an example of what I mean by classical or traditional:

    [​IMG]

    That's a first edition of The Silmarillion that I bound in 18th C. style by request. The dyes are all natural, contain no harsh chemicals or alcohol and won't corrode.

    With some luck and help, I could get all three copies bound properly.
     
  8. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    Beautiful work you've done there!
     
  9. Too Much Garlic

    Too Much Garlic Master Member

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    I'll second that. Most beautiful work.
     
  10. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    Thanks, folks -- I appreciate that. It takes a long time to get to that level of binding and using gold leaf.

    I'll be binding this copy of the Nine Gates in the same manner, just black with no gold except for the pentacle in the center (which will be in 22k gold leaf). The book won't need any maintenance except minor touchups every 100 years or so and should last in good condition for at least 200 years. You can't beat the old methods. :)
     
  11. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    With very special thanks and gratitude to Rogue428, I now have all the components I need to begin this project.

    The paper I've chosen and number of text pages required works out perfectly -- cotton/rag paper just as Torchia would have used, and the dimensions of the book will be exactly to specifications (height, width and thickness).

    Here's a test of a pentacle tooling I performed today. I've got to make sure I can tool the final portion before I begin, right? ;)

    [​IMG]

    The tools I used on the left are dated 1766, oddly enough. Most of my tools are antique, which will give the finished product an authentic look.

    I freestyled that pentacle based on a reference drawing. It's exactly to size to match the film prop. I tooled on a scrap of calf leather (the tools weren't heated, but they will be when I use them again) which is the same skin I'll be using to cover the book. Don't worry -- it'll be colored black, permanently.

    It will take me longer to typeset and print the signatures than it will for me to bind these volumes. Once I'm ready to begin the binding process, I'll post photos as I go along. I estimate I'm about a week and a half to two weeks away from beginning the binding.

    Cheers!
     
  12. mrsmartypants

    mrsmartypants Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    Really enjoying this thread! One question: isn't the cover more of a brown than black?
     
  13. VilleLeskinen

    VilleLeskinen Sr Member Community Staff RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Sure is. Looking forward to this. Now if only I had gone to the bookbinding classes...
     
  14. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    The original prop(s) was bound in black sheepskin.

    [​IMG]

    I can tell you, after having worked with TONS of different leathers, any modern aniline dyed brown skin would show as brown in that flash.

    From what I can tell, some of the props (there were several with differently formatted title plates) were likely aged by adding brown dye to the worn areas on some of the props, but after examining the film in detail, it appears they left the master prop's worn areas as the grey undercoat of the sheepskin -- which is often the undercoat of poor quality skins. (Not the binder's fault, really. He/she was probably asked to bind the book very, very cheaply.)

    The prop that we all fell in love with is actually a "case" binding, meaning that the leather case was prepared and covered with leather independently of the text, then the endsheets pasted into the case. Those bands on the spine are false, likely strips of leather instead of the cord that the pages would have been sewn on and laced into the cover boards.

    Also, the bands, you'll notice, are equally spaced from the top (head) and bottom (tail) of the book. The practice at the time the book would've been bound was to offset the bands so that the tail panel was larger than the head panel -- sort of like how a framer makes the bottom portion of a mat taller so as to satisfy the optical illusion of them looking off center. More books were stored upright on shelves in 1666, so Torchia -- being a master bookbinder -- would have offset the bands. He could have intentionally made them equally spaced, but judging from my studies, bookbinders at the time would have considered that very inappropriate and distasteful. The bands would have been equally spaced a century prior.

    I intend to bind my copies as Torchia would have done, much like this Master Bookbinder's version: http://nonus-porta.blogspot.com/

    He is a Master, I am not. But, the purpose of binding it in the more authentic and true style is not just for kicks or to showcase binding skills, but so that the book will last -- for a long time.

    Me too!

    Classes would certainly help, but I find that they're just not comprehensive enough for this kind of binding. It requires a lot (and I mean a lot) of practice. But, anyone can do it so long as they have patience. It's not as mysterious as many make it out to be.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  15. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    A couple of test prints to make sure the resolution is good and the paper is taking the ink appropriately.

    Note: the paper will not be as yellow as it appears under the flash in the finished product.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  16. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    Will they be pristine or will you weather them?
     
  17. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    I'll be keeping everything about the book pristine. Maybe a few paper wrinkles here and there. Artificially aging a book like this worries me about long-term effects. Best to let it get worn naturally. :) Coffee and tea staining just isn't a good idea, as the corrosive elements will take their toll on the material sooner than one would like. This is mainly because I'm using materials that match the period as much as I'm able.
     
  18. VilleLeskinen

    VilleLeskinen Sr Member Community Staff RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    I find it somewhat funny that your not making the book screen accurate but period accurate seeing that the pentagram in the cover is no way period accurate. It's of course your book but still. I'm sure it'll be great either way :)
     
  19. mrsmartypants

    mrsmartypants Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    :confused
    How is the pentagram not period accurate? Its origins date back to Sumeria in 3000 B.C. Therefore, it would be accurate to use it from that point forward, no?
     
  20. mrsmartypants

    mrsmartypants Well-Known Member

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    I have to respectively disagree. I'm fairly certain the cover is brown, not black.

    Screen used version of the book as posted earlier:

    [​IMG]


    Screen grab of book from the film:

    [​IMG]

    Clearly brown in these images. I'll have to pull out the DVD and examine the book(s) more closely.
     
  21. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    You're right -- there were several props used if I recall correctly. I can't for the life of me find the source of that information, but the picture I posted above is definitely black sheepskin. I've worked with it before, and many other leathers of different colors, and brown will always show through a direct flash, no matter how black it seems to the eye. The photo of the book I bound that I posted earlier looks black to the eye, but in the photo the brown shows.

    Watching the movie closely, the book that Depp handles in the library looks black to me -- it has a large title plate whereas the other copies shown in the movie have a smaller one, offset toward the right gutter. When Fargas points out the discoloration on Balkan's copy, that is 100% black leather. But yes, most of them look brown as you point out. So we're both right. ;)

    Either way we go with color, the prop would be screen accurate. I choose to make mine black because it is a color associated with the occult, and many fine bindings ("fine" being a type of binding if unfamiliar, basically the top of the market) were done in black. It was also generally reserved for important work.

    My educated assumption based on practices at the time and the content is that Torchia would have chosen black. My theory on the brown color of the secondary props is that black doesn't respond well to artificial aging, whereas brown does, and in fact looks quite nice, especially on camera. So it makes sense to me why most of the props were brown for the aged and distressed effect. But, after years of studying and practicing classical binding, I can't in good conscience choose brown as a color given the nature of the content.

    I probably would choose brown if I wanted to make a 100% screen accurate prop replica, but the book construction and longevity would be sacrificed if I were to bind the book in exactly the same manner. It would fall apart sooner than I would like. What I'm trying to do is find a synthesis between the two -- well constructed, traditional binding with screen-accurate content that will last a long time.

    EDIT: Description from The Club Dumas: "Black morocco, five raised bands, no title on the exterior, a pentacle on the cover."

    Here I go rambling again. Bookbinding is insanely complicated, so please take my word that I know what I'm doing here. I do admit that I am deviating from several aspects of the prop(s), but my intent is to act as if the prop had truly been bound in the 17th century.

    Here are the typeset, printed, folded and cut sections for the first book (I chose the Kessler copy):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It's taken me all day to get these printed and folded. Last night I spent several hours adjusting the margins and character spacing to reflect common 17th C. typesetting practices, with a few random adjustments just to make the abbreviated Latin pop a bit more on the page.

    The next step is to sew these in a "flexible" style, meaning that they will be sewn on five hemp cords that will eventually be laced into the cover boards. Before that, the spine will be rounded and backed, then the cords frayed for lacing. What will follow is the boards being attached, silk endbands being sewn, the leather cut, pastewashed, colored, pared, then the book covered and tooled. I will likely not get to sewing these until Friday, but -- good progress today!

    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  22. terryhimself

    terryhimself Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    This is an amazing project! The movie was spellbinding, the book even more so. I believe your workmanship will produce a prop that will outlive us all.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  23. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    @terryhimself: Unless I $#@! it up! It happens sometimes. Very few times have I been as excited to bind a book.
     
  24. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    But will it work when your done? ;)
     
  25. Mike J.

    Mike J. Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Flattery, you are awesome and I love you :love :lol

    I remember, after I'd seen the movie, I went and checked out the (English) book, and then checked out the original (Spanish) from the college library. Just because they had it.

    In all seriousness, this is an awesome project you've got going, and I am struck speechless by your skills!

    Good luck!


    -Mike J.
     
  26. VilleLeskinen

    VilleLeskinen Sr Member Community Staff RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    "In the film, the book "The Nine Gates" displays an inverted pentagram on its cover to represent its Satanic content. However, the inverted pentagram only became associated with Satanism and evil in the late 19th century due largely to a work by the French occultist Eliphas Levi. As the books were said to be in their original 17th century Venetian bindings, the appearance of the inverted pentagram is an anachronism."

    From IMDB.
     
  27. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Before I begin sewing, I need to decide on endpapers for the inside covers.

    I could go with the same colored paper used for the text as in the prop, but I'm inclined to use something decorative (but in keeping with the theme). I was thinking I could make some black paste papers, or use some black with white swirls paper that I have readily available. What do you think?
     
  28. terryhimself

    terryhimself Well-Known Member

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    Black with swirls should be in keeping with the overall theme of the book .
     
  29. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Here's a small scrap of what I've got. :thumbsup? :thumbsdown?

    [​IMG]


    Several papers would work, but this is what I have available to use immediately so I can keep going.
     
  30. terryhimself

    terryhimself Well-Known Member

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    That would look quite good with the black cover.
     
  31. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. I'm going for it.
     
  32. terryhimself

    terryhimself Well-Known Member

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    The Gates Are Opening.....Good Choice!
     
  33. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I've got it. A compromise on the color.

    I got out my batch of walnut dye that's been fermenting for quite some time. I use it for a rich, dark chocolate brown. I doubled the amount of mordant solution and it makes black. Deep black, even under direct light. When folded, the creased leather shows the brown. So, if it scratches, and as the book ages, more brown will show. The best part is that this dye won't corrode the leather whereas the chemical formula has a reputation for corrosion. Bingo.
     
  34. DarthBatman

    DarthBatman Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    the book looks amazing! sweet job
     
  35. mrsmartypants

    mrsmartypants Well-Known Member

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    :thumbsup

    Everything is looking great so far!
     
  36. mrsmartypants

    mrsmartypants Well-Known Member

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    I stand corrected then. :thumbsup
     
  37. Rogue

    Rogue Active Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    I would ask - beg! plead! - that you document the process as closely as you feel comfortable doing. I appreciate that documenting it can sometimes make more work than the project, but this is a technique that I am very, very interested in and would love as much additional insight as possible into the process.

    Skillz. You have them :D
     
  38. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    You got it, Rogue.

    Here's some progress pics of the sewing. I'll try to fill in some of the gaps.

    After I prepared the endpapers, I marked up the sections for where the cords will rest on the spine. Normally I would trim the edges of the paper, but that would make it a bit too small to meet (approximately) the prop measurements. So, I sanded the edges instead until very smooth, then strung up the sewing frame.

    [​IMG]

    The tail of the book is to the left, so what's on top are the endpapers (plus one protective sheet that will be removed later) that will become in the inside back cover. I'll be sewing from front to back, so the first section to be sewn onto the cords is the one containing the title plate.

    Here's a quick snap of in-progress sewing.

    [​IMG]

    The thread is looping around each cord, and each loop is tightened individually to the proper tension as I go along. Too loose and the binding will suffer. Too tight and it will not be very flexible and would not round out properly. This is one of many techniques known as "flexible" sewing.

    I chose the thread carefully for its thickness. There are a total of 20 sections, so by the time the sewing is completed, there's 20 thicknesses of thread. The thread thickness provides just the right amount of "swell" in the spine so it will round out very well.

    You can see how thick the spine has become in this photo taken after sewing was completed. Sewing a book like this can take a couple of hours. (The spine will be thinner when I'm done with it).

    [​IMG]

    Next, I'll round out the spine to about a third of a circle, then stick it in a lay press and "back" it into its final rounded shape using an aptly named backing hammer. More pics to come.
     
  39. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    Anyone know how I can rename this thread to something like "The Nine Gates - In progress?"
     
  40. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates Engravings/Woodcuts

    Click on edit message and then click the advanced button in the bottom right hand corner
     
  41. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates - In Progress

    The book was given its original rounded shape by tapping the spine with a backing hammer, the thumb pressing against the forward edges of the paper. This is repeated until the round shape is satisfactory.

    Then the book was sandwiched between two backing boards screwed up tight (and I mean tight) in a lay press. The distance between the edges of the paper and the boards is about equal to the thickness of the cover board that will be used.

    [​IMG]

    Next, the edges of the spine receive blows with the backing hammer in a kind of stroking motion instead of downward force. This encourages the sections to fan outwards, one on top of each other.

    [​IMG]

    This step is crucial and requires a lot of practice. I've botched tons of blank books learning how to do this. If the round doesn't come out even, or the edges get a zig-zag shape rather than a smooth outward curve, it would mean starting all over. The reason the book is rounded is so that the strain and swell of the sewing is distributed, and it keeps the forward edge from protruding over time.

    This one came out all right. Whew.

    [​IMG]

    The next step will be to cut cover boards, trim them to size, fray and lace in the cords.
     
  42. Rogue

    Rogue Active Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates - In Progress

    You, sir, are a scholar and a craftsman. Thank you for this peek into your world :cool :thumbsup
     
  43. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates - In Progress

    Thanks, Rogue -- I appreciate that. I figured you'd like seeing the process. I'll keep posting like this as I go along.

    Bookbinding is the most challenging thing I've ever done, and the most rewarding. It's a very humbling profession, and the best part is that there's always something new to delve into. Once you master a particular style, you can then you can move on to learning the nuances of how someone in another country would've bound the same exact book during the same time period.
     
  44. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    I had a little time to kill today so I cut the boards, marked them up and trimmed them to size.

    [​IMG]
     
  45. Risu

    Risu Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This is beautiful work. I'm sending a PM your way.
     
  46. Togalai

    Togalai New Member

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    I am loving watching this progress. Truly amazing work!
     
  47. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    With a little more time to kill today, I chose my thread for the endbands. For those unfamiliar, I'm talking about the cores of colored silk sewn at the top and bottom of the spine, like this one:

    [​IMG]

    Modern endbands are usually machine made and simply glued onto the spine. Traditionally, they are sewn to strengthen the binding in those areas for when the book is pulled off a shelf with your finger.

    The endband above is of the French variety, using a single core and smaller one on top. I don't know what the endbands on the prop look like, but based on what I was able to make out, it appears that they may have been white then aged. I can't tell for sure, though.

    True mid-17th C. Venetian endbands were typically sewn using thicker thread than silk and were commonly red or gold (not flashy, just a dull yellow), and sewn around a single core. I've chosen linen thread that is the right thickness to match the period.

    [​IMG]

    Next I prepared a dye solution of cochineal with two different fixatives, one to saturate the fibers and one to help ensure the color remains lightfast. The dye contains a total of six ingredients. I'll let the thread steep in it for several hours. It should come out as a rich red, slightly pink, which will match the color of Venetian bands almost exactly.

    [​IMG]

    This way I'll have the thread ready to use after I lace on the cover boards.

    Thanks for the kind words, folks -- I'm glad everyone's enjoying this as much as I am!
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2012
  48. aniskywalker

    aniskywalker Active Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates - In Progress

    Fantastic work on this.
    Keep the documentation coming.
    Great pics!!
    :) :thumbsup
     
  49. glenthornetms

    glenthornetms Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates - In Progress

    Brilliant work and thread - I cant wait to see more!
     
  50. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Nine Gates - In Progress

    Holes punched, cords frayed and laced in, the holes being hammered shut.

    Now I'll stick'er in the nipping press for a while. The next step is sewing the endbands, then cutting the leather to size. That's where we get to the really fun stuff :) I'll have this book mostly finished tomorrow, people. I just can't help but work on it whenever I can.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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