Green's Books

Book production during WWII

Whilst browsing the shelves of a local charity shop in Worcester, we recently came across this modest copy of Arthur Ransome’s The Picts and the Martyrs [1] printed in Oxford at the Alden Pressand bound by A. W. Bain & Co. Ltd.  What drew us to the book was not its faded green cloth exterior, brightly

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Identifying Indigo

Some observations about indigo… I was recently sent a fascinating image (see below) of an endband by a colleague who noted areas of un-dyed thread which he suspected was symptomatic of the hand-dying process used for indigo. This effect is certainly something I’ve observed when dying myself: the thread is dyed in skeins and the

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Fancy-four-flap box

Here is a little box I made based on a simple archival four-flap, or phase box. I wanted to create something more elegant than a standard box, and without the fuss of cotton fore-edge ties. It was made with just a few hand tools and requires minimal gluing; I am quite pleased with the results!

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Endband mechanics

Endbands are an aspect of bookbinding that has interested me from the outset. Like many, my first attempts were decorative endbands in colourful silks; but during my time working as a professional book conservator in Oxford I became much more interested in the laced-in structural endbands found on medieval bindings. More recently I have experimented

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Victorian bookbinders’ plough

I just bought this beautiful antique plough. Sadly I don’t have any information about it’s provenance; however, it’s almost identical to the one featured in Zaehnsdorf’s ‘The Art of Bookbinding’, it even has the same teardrop shaped brass plate under the wing-nut. The blade of the plough has an  ‘N. J. Hill London’ makers-mark engraved

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Oxford pulp board binding: a joint DB SoB workshop 17-18 Nov. 2018

Over two days at Arthur’s studio in the Malvern Hills, five students learned to make a pulp board binding based on a design common in Oxford in the early 17th century. This transitional structure marks the movement from parchment to paper leaves and from wooden to paper/pulp boards. Common features of the structure are stub

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Some thoughts on English paring knives

Over the last few years I have spent many, many hours researching bookbinding knives: I have looked at the wide variety of styles available and their historical usage; I have made my own blades which are suitable for book conservation; and I have also learnt how to sharpen them efficiently and taught others how to

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Revisiting animal glue: gluing-up with gelatine  

Introduction For some time, I have been considering my choice of adhesive for gluing-up the spines of paper text-blocks. Traditionally protein-based animal glue was used but in the last few decades it is has fallen out of favour. Animal glue can be inconsistent, and can sometimes be brittle and stain the paper. Although still used

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Moving to Malvern

The move: If moving house is supposed to be as traumatic as going through a divorce, then moving your home and a book conservation studio at the same time is certainly a challenge. In July, Emily and I decided to relocate to the Malvern Hills: after eight enjoyable years in Oxford our plan to move west

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Board corner repair

Condition prior to treatment A mid 17th century in-board binding bound in pulp boards and covered in brown calf leather. The book had been crudely repaired in the mid 20th century: it had been re-backed and the board corners were re-covered with new leather; however, no attempt was made to rebuild the missing tips of the worn

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