24 August 2009

Zutphen Infirmary Accounts - 16th Century

I started on the first of my exemplars this weekend. The first one will be the Zutphen Infirmary Accounts covering the years 1536-1555. This is a great example of the limp binding technique as it doesn't even have a cover. It is a set of accounts, each year wrapped with a piece of recycled parchment and then bound to a leather strip. The strip is pre-punched to allow the addition of further accounts at a later time. Each section is attached to the leather by direct tacketing, using parchment strips.

I obviously don't have a heap of spare 14th century parchment lying around, so I found some pictures on the web and printed them out on cardstock. I then distressed the pages using a variety of methods. The backs were painted with a walnut ink mixture, just to tone down the plain white paper. I hacked at the edges of the pages with sandpaper and also sandpapered the page itself, just to get rid of the smoothness. I then crumpled the edges of the pages. I'm quite happy with how they turned out.

I am using plain 80gsm photocopy paper for the internal pages. I might go through and put some fake accounts in them at some stage, but only if I have plenty of time.

I pre-punched the two leather external supports. Each is 3" x 3 1/2", with the holes punched 1/4" apart. There are 13 sets of holes in each support.

I did a test run on the parchment strips. I cut a very thin strip, only 1/16" wide and put it in a tub of water to soak and soften up. After about 10 mins it was flexible enough to use. I was worried about it being too wet to put inside the quires of each section. But once I'd dried off the excess water, it wasn't that wet.

I need to get some more parchment scraps as I think this would probably use some sort of parchment reinforcement inside each quire.

I am waiting for some parchment scraps to arrive, once I've done the tacketing, I will post a picture.