From the Bench: A Peek Inside the Bindery!

A collection of recent works from the Cobenick Studios Bindery!

Enjoy this look into our projects and processes; along with a mix of before and after images and some of Daniel’s thoughts and observations.

Be well friends!

Enjoy our entire “From the Bench” catalog!


We would love to hear from you! Feel free to share and comment!


Project Lab at Idea Foundry: Basic Book Binding & Repair – 6/27, 7/25, 8/22, 9/26, 10/24, 11/21


Project Lab at Idea Foundry: Basic Book Binding & Repair – Summer/Fall 2024

Thursdays, 6/27, 7/25, 8/22, 9/26, 10/24, 11/21, @ 6:30 PM

Tickets:
Idea Foundry Member – $90
Non Member – $105

All supplies included – Click Here to Register

Just like basic maintenance on your home does not require a contractor, basic maintenance for your personal library does not require a specialist!

In the first portion of this class, participants will receive a brief introduction to the terminology, beginner level tools, and techniques of bookmaking; as well as completing a small basic booklet in a hands-on work session. Your book will be 5″ x 7″ with blank pages and the cover can be blank, or if time allows, embellished.
The second portion of this workshop will take the previous techniques and use them to introduce basic maintenance and repair techniques for your books at home. Participants are encouraged to bring a book (paperback, hardcover, or both) of no sentimental or fiscal value to work on, thrift store finds are great for this. Personal books that you would like to show, discuss, or receive consultation on are also encouraged.
Supplies will include take home tool kit and literature for supplies and follow up research.




Showing Old Friends A Little love!


Hello Friends! Welcome to From the Bench!

Right now the bench is hopping, but none of the really “wow” stuff is going to be ready for a bit. So I wanted to take a second to show some appreciation to all the smaller projects that help keep the bills paid. For every big project that takes up weeks of my time, there are always a handful of smaller projects running at the same time.

I want to tell you all that I fix every kind of book for every kind of reason.

Most of the smaller projects fall into three categories: Basic recover – called recasing; usually, but not exclusively, well used and loved personal Bibles. Modifications – the reworking of new books to create or repair something else. Maintenance – cleaning, stabilizing, and minor repairs; basic maintenance on most books can give them a new lease on life!

So until next time enjoy this modest offering From the Bench! Check out the rest of the series!

Maintenance

Basic maintenance and repair usually entails simple spine, hinge, and page repair; as well as simple cosmetic touch ups. A good once over works wonders for books that are meant to see continuous use for years to come!

Recovering and Recasing

Any type of book can be a good candidate for an entirely new cover for a variety of reasons. I just happen to get a lot of Bibles because they tend to be used heavily and wear out quickly. They also tend to have a lot of scholarly and sentimental value.

Recasing can be a lot of fun. If your going to start over make it look however you want! Below are a variety of examples as well as some of the recover options we offer!

Modifications

Modifications are usually either a custom cover created for a new book, two or more books that are spliced together to create a new book, or the same version of a book in good condition is used to repair another book. Here are some examples.

This book was a modification of a modification. The client took the book to a leatherworker. While being a great leatherworker, they knew nothing about the mechanics of books. So it had to be torn apart and remodified. The first photo is before repair with the closure flap missing.


Severely Paint Damaged Family Bible with a Fun Bonus!


And we’re back!

Today’s From the Bench is the transformation of a family bible that had been unfortunately stored on a painted surface. After years of being stored this way with direct contact, the book had bonded to the surface. Fortunately, when removed, more of the paint came with the book than leather stayed on the paint! Still, after removal, it was left in a pretty bad way. As you can see from the photos. Luckily there was very little in the way of red rot or other leather damage; and aside from the over 1/16″ paint layer on the back cover there was minimal wear and damage to the gilt.

Other than the extensive cleaning and touch up, the book had very little page repair, and overall the paper was in fantastic condition. Along with very impressive illustrations this version of Family Bible had a Temperance Pledge page! Something I have known about, but never seen in person. It would have been more interesting if any of the registry pages would have been filled out, but that is always a 50/50 chance. If you want to look it up it is an interesting piece of history. The Temperance movement of the late 1800’s laid the foundation, and was almost directly responsible for the Prohibition Era of the 1920’s. You do not usually get these in such good condition. Another exciting thing is the condition of the photo pages in the back! Not only were they in amazing condition, but there were ancestral photos! That almost never happens. No images of those pages for privacy reasons, you’ll have to just take my word for it!

So. After many hours of soft touch cleaning, touch up, and structural reinforcement, here is the Whitney Family Bible.

I hope you enjoy this latest view From the Bench! Check out the rest of the series!

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Industrial Revolution Era German Bible


Welcome to From the Bench!

I am very excited to share the process of one of the coolest antique personal Bibles I have come across to date in this latest edition of “From the Bench”.

The text is in German, and the large print was not that common, and the paper! Oh my, the paper! 100% linen, and so pleasant to handle. A fine example of the quality no wood paper being fast replaced in commercial printing during the surge of the industrial revolution. Unfortunately, it is hard to pinpoint a date due to several of the beginning and ending pages being lost to time. Given the leather, style of binding, and paper, I am guessing mid to late 1800’s. Most likely immigrated pre WW1, which would explain how it survived both world wars, given that it is authentically German.

The cover as you can see is harboring plenty of my nemesis, cellophane tape! Out damned tape! The leather was also pretty brittle, with red rot, and the front cover was detached. There appeared to be a set of strap closures at one time. Replacing them was not possible due to how brittle the leather was. While the paper was of good quality and reasonable condition for its age there were still quite a few missing, damaged, and loose pages that needed to be addressed.

But I’ll let the photos take it from here!

So with this latest offering “From the Bench” here are the before and after shots of this gorgeous Industrial Revolution era German Bible.  Check out the rest of the series!

Be well Friends!

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Incredibly Unique Late 1800’s Family Bible


In other news, From the Bench I have this amazing example of a late 1800’s family Bible.

There was quite a bit lost to time on this piece. Mainly the entire original spine and whole pieces of  hardware, along with very brittle, torn, and loose pages. Unfortunately there is not much that can be done about the hardware; but with the help of some digital imaging colleagues of mine I was able to remedy the spine. It was a really fun challenge! 

I hope you enjoy this latest view From the Bench! Check out the rest of the series!

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Saving a severely damaged and taped Bible


This Bible is a prime example of what makes book preservationists groan and cringe. Tape. So much tape. Duct tape, packing tape, scotch tape, tape is really bad. Especially on books like Bibles that have such thin and delicate pages. So this one needed a lot of saving.

The Bible belonged to the client’s distant relative and he felt that it needed to be preserved for the future. Saving the damaged inscription pages was a bit tricky. They preferred a full re-casing to saving the original cover, so that made it a more straightforward repair, but the text block still needed a lot of love.

Please my friends, don’t put tape on your old books. It never ends well. Or rather it’s a nightmare to clean and fix later!

Without further ado, here is the saving of a severely damaged and taped Bible. 

Until next time, well wishes From the Bench! Check out the rest of the series!

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A Woman’s Work by Laura S. Haviland – An abolitionist’s autobiography and a Dad’s last request.


Every once in awhile I get the opportunity to service a book that is very meaningful. In this instance, it was fulfilling the last wish of a dying man. I know that sounds terribly dramatic, but I rather unbelievably, found myself in that situation! 

The client approached me with this project stating that Laura Haviland was a distant relative, a major figure in the abolitionist movement that the family was very proud to acknowledge, and that it was her personal account of her life and times  published in 1887. Apparently it was an item on his bucket list that turned into his dying request. The tricky bit was that her father was already in hospice with not much time left. Long story short, I did not have a lot of time to turn around a very brittle, very old, and very precious family heirloom. But I did, barely, hand delivering it to the client just hours before Dad passed. 

I think the message the client sent me that evening completes the tale well. “My Dad woke up and his lit up when he saw the book. Quality work and a real family heirloom! Thanks for making his day!

Until next time, I wish you well From the Bench! Check out the rest of the series!

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Late 1800’s Family Bible


I am showcasing this bible mainly because it was the first of it’s kind for me. This style of cover is so fun, and such a departure from the more serious gothic bindings!

This one wasn’t too bad, a pretty straight forward hinge repair with a little touch up. 

I hope you enjoy this cover as much as I did, until next time , greetings From the Bench! Check out the rest of the series!

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Bell’s Best Employee Family Cookbook – circa, 1981


Sometimes I get to rescue a book that is cherished just for being what it is. This cookbook belonged to the the client’s mother and was used all throughout his childhood. I think it’s fun because it captures that piece of history when more companies functioned as small communities. She was a phone company employee; and this was their, I’m assuming one off, cookbook of recipes provided by the employees. 

This one was fun because it allowed me to recycle a vintage library book with beige vinyl, and dust off my design skills to digitally recreate the damaged cover and spine. This family treasure is now more protected in a vinyl hardcover casing with water resistant canvas print graphics. I also got to play around with some of my foil stamp colors and type for the personalization on the back. I also trimmed down the original paper cover to slide into a pocket inside the new cover.

Enjoy this latest installment of From the Bench! Check out the rest of the series!

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1919 Vitalogy: Home Medical Journal


This latest book was a real treat. I had never before seen one of these turn of the century, pre WWI, home medical remedy books. From the viewpoint of what we now know of basic modern medicine, some of the things this book instructed people to do is wild! But then it was 1919. I included a shot of what I thought was one of the more amusing sections. Hail the sunshine!

I hope you you enjoy this latest installment of From the Bench! Check out the rest of the series!

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