I wanted a chained library. I wanted to be able to not only display my books in a "secure" manner but also show a type of binding that I haven't seen at events before.
I fabricate my chains I started by playing with copper. It is more forgiving than brass or bronze. You can work it longer before it gets brittle and breaks.
I purchased some copper wire sold as ground wire and cut it to equal lengths.
I heated it and quenched it to soften the copper and then used scroll tongs to shape each link.
I hammered the links a bit flat with a slight overlap for the rivet. The hammering served a couple purposes. it work hardened the material a bit which stiffened the link and allowed me to flatten the lap joint for the rivet.
I then drilled and inserted a smaller copper wire for the rivet. I cut it off and peened it over.
Here is an image of the finished copper chain. Note, this is not one of the books for this project. This was a book I previously made and only used it here as a sample to see if I liked the look.
I followed the same process for Book 2 and 3 with some slight modifications. For Book 2/3 I used a brass rod to make the chain. Neither brass nor copper is period but I received some negative feedback regarding my use of copper so I decided to try some other options. I made the links of Book 2 round and the links for Book 3 oval.
As you can see here, brass work hardens much faster. While trying to bend and peen the rivets I ended up cracking a number of the links. Only resolution was to cut them off and recycle them.
I started by making a spring of brass by heating and wrapping the brass rod around a metal rod. Once cool I then clipped the links off.
I filed the area where the lap joint would be as the brass was too brittle to simply hammer. I then drilled and peened rivets made from a smaller brass rod.
Here is the short round linked chain completed and next to my test book. The length of this chain is very consistent with some other extant books. It is believed that these shorter chains would be used to chain the book to a lectern rather than allowing the book to be kept on a bookshelf and removed to be read. I like the variability. Three similar chains would be boring anyway.
Here is chain 1 and 2. As you can see chain 1 is much longer. I opted to go with a long oval chain for Book 3 as well.
I decided to try the same process to make the oval links. I figured if I heated the brass and wrapped it around a bar it would make an oval shaped spring.
Nope. The material wasn't soft enough and when I slid it off the metal bar in wound up in this crazy start shaped spring. Scared the crap out of me too. I proceeded to clip the links off and shape them just like the round links.
Same construction process so no additional pictures. Here is Chain 3 completed and the set of all three.
Book bosses, corners, feed and clasps. This was turning out to be a bigger project than I anticipated.
I decided to keep with the copper theme for Book 1 and brass only fittings for Book 2 and 3. There are a number of options when it comes to book bosses and corners. I chose early on what my design would be. I wanted to make a functional looking book with functional fittings. I wanted these books to look like institutional books with little extra decoration. That would also save me the hassle of having to fabricate super fancy fittings.
Here is the line drawing I did very early on. I created this even before the sewing was completed. The color and clasps changed a bit but the bosses and feet pretty much ended up just like that.
Again I started with Book 1 and playing with copper. I had a dapping block which I planned on using to make the bosses. Since the boss was integrated into the whole one piece corner fitting I had to print out some paper templates before cutting out my stock. I had previously purchased a copper plate from salvation army. There was enough material left to finish this book. I rough cut the pieces I needed to shape and then annealed them. I did the annealing by heating with a propane torch and then quenching in cold water. You'll see a slight discoloration on the softened metal. That will clean up easily later.
To make the bosses I started with a smaller punch and then progressed to a larger one. I found that if i went straight to the larger one it ripped through the material too easily.
Here is what happens if you are too aggressive or working with material not properly annealed.
I started out by playing around with scraps. I then did a prototype piece in brass and copper.
Worked great and I really liked the size so the plan was a go.
Before proceeding to the dapping block I used a small hammer on my 2 pound anvil to flatten out the material and smooth any sharp edges. Note that the annealing process also burned off the nasty clear coat that had been applied to this decorative plate. If you see how shiny the plate was you might think it was recently polished. More likely it never tarnished due to the clear coat painted on it. I heated to orange in a well ventilated area and all that coating was burned off.
I then used the dapping block to make the bosses.
You'll note here all my pieces are still only rough cut. That was intentional. I assumed the material would shift or change shape during the hammering. If I precut the pieces and didn't line it up perfectly it would be obvious in the finished piece. Instead I did the hammering and shaping and then marked the border of the finished piece and cut it to shape.
I used tin snips and a cold chisel to cut the pieces to shape.
Cut and roughed out. I could help but place them on the book every once and a while to test fit. Notice that the hardware process was going on during the binding phase. I didn't do the final fitting of the corners, however, until the wood panels were covered with leather though.
Same process so far for the brass. A lot more wasted pieces in brass tho. The brittle brass fractured more than a few times even though annealed.
Seventy-five cent plate, from Salvation Army. It took 1.5 plates to make both books due to the scrap and mistakes. That was OK though. I had purchased about 12 of them at the time.
I used a bit of tarnex to clean up the pieces before assembly.
At this point the corners were roughed out but couldn't be finished until the leather was aplied, dyed and dried. I moved on to making the feet. There were three books and three methods for adding feet.
For Book 1, I shaped the corner and then drilled a hole where the foot would be placed. I then cut a thick copper wire to the rough shape of a foot and filed it down as shown.
I then inserted the small foot into the corner.
At this point I proceeded to peen over the top of the foot to secure it permanently into place. This was a mistake. Since I had pre-bent the corner getting a ball peen hammer in to finish off the foot was very difficult. For Book 2 I chose to punch and attach the foot before bending the corner over.
The foot is was set in place and then all filed to even height so that the book would stand flat. I still could not finish the corners at this point until the leather was applied.
The process for the feet on Book 2 was much like Book 1 except that I added the feet before shaping the corners. This made peening the feet in place A LOT easier.
Peening the foot when the corner was flat allowed me to make a much cleaner joint. Note here I have the inside labeled on this piece FB. Each corner is fit for a specific location. As the top and bottom had different shapes no two pieces were interchangeable. I started early on labeling the pieces F/B Front/Back and T/B Top/Bottom.
Again I finished them up as much as possible but final fitting had to wait until after the leather was applied.
It appears that I don't have any pictures of the process of making the feet for book 3. I decided to try a one piece solution. I used a smaller circle in my dapping block to make feet that look a lot like the dimples used as the book bosses. Here is an image of the final foot. These were the easiest to make although I like the feet on Book 2 the best.
Now, the clasps. Here is a page from Szirmai which shows some of the extant example of book clasps.
I chose to make three different style clasps for my three different books. Not a lot in the way of explanation here. I used tin snips, pliers, hammer, cold chisel and files to cut and shape the clasps.
The small florets are going to be used to attach the leather strap to the back of the book. I liked these a lot... until I finished the brass ones for Book 2/3. I liked those a LOT more but decided not to go back and rework these.
Done deal. Waiting for a cover now.
A bit of post production file work to make them pretty.
The thin copper flashing in this image was used on the inside of the leather strap as a backing plate. The rivet went through the brass, then the leather and then the copper. That make the leather attachment more stable.
Ready for attachment.
At this point, the books bound in part 1 could now be joined with the hardware. I tried three possible ways of riveting the pieces together. The following image shows a prototype boss with three rivets, Steel, Brass, Copper. I practiced a bit and then decided on the rivets that suited each book. I placed the corners on and marked the location of the rivet. I then drilled a hole through the leather and wood covers. The rivets were inserted from the inside of the cover and peened over on the outside of the books.
After completing book 2 with brass plated steel rivets I chose to make a different type of rivet. I cut a piece of brass rod and rounded over the end. The hook shape would bite into the wood on the inside of the book and be peened over on the outside.
The hardware clip for all three books was made of copper where the chain would be attached to the back of the book. I squeezed the clip into place and then drilled a hole through all layers of the copper and the book. I then riveted it in place with a piece of smaller copper.
The finished Book 2
Book 2 and 3 completed. Note in this picture the thinner book is Book 2. It has had a few coats of oil/wax while the thicker book (Book 3) hasn't been treated yet. As the finish penetrates the leather darkens slightly.
Book 3 - The "real book" completed.
Book 1 completed.
The finished set.