A Birthday Weekend in SF


This last weekend I flew down to San Francisco to surprise my mom for her birthday. It was a huge success.

She came in to the door and my nephew met her with flowers. Then he peremptorily said ‘close your eyes, it’s a secret!’ She, being a good grandma, did, and he led her into the living room, where I waited. (She did bounce off the walls a bit, he wasn’t very good at leading her, I must say.) When she opened her eyes — the look on her face was priceless.

Big hugs, lots of happiness.

Dinner was yummy and the gift giving great. I had a book I’d made for her . . . it was a copy of her dissertation from 1990. She’d never had a chance to get a copy of her own, something she told me ~2 years ago. I was determined to get a copy and bind it into a real book for her and give it to her for her birthday last year, the 20th anniversary of its acceptance and her graduation as a Ph.D..

As we all know, I was a little ill last year, so this project was put on hold for a bit.

With a lot of help from technology, I converted the scanned copy of the book into OCR text and then cleaned it up. (OCR technology has improved, but its not perfect.) With a lot of help from John, I converted the raw text into something that looked better than the original courier. I sized it as a traditional book, and added a number of color images to the interior. Then we printed it.

Making a book is a complicated process, but only because it has many steps. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures along the way. But the breakdown would look something like:

  • create signatures (4-8 pages that you fold in half)
  • sew the signatures (for strength)
  • sew the signatures together
  • glue the spine of the bound signatures
  • cut the covers and spine from bookboard
  • glue a piece of paper to the spine of the bound signatures
  • cut the interior pages, the hinge piece, and the bookcloth for covering the covers and spine
  • cover the bookboard with the bookcloth (I used two colors, one at the spine and the other for the rest of the cover)
  • glue the hinge to the bound signatures
  • glue the hing to the bookboard
  • glue the interior paper into the inside of the front and back covers

Here’s a bit of what it looked like, in the end:

florentine paper

I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

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