Sunday, March 29, 2009

More books!

I found this fantastic page just yesterday: University of Iowa libraries bookbinding models digital collection

It is a collection of examples of different types of bindings sorted by types and historical periods. The site contains numerous pictures og the bindings from different angles.
This makes it very easy to see the different techniques used in the binding of books.

The site show both bound books and the structures that are normaly cowered by the leather binding (the wooden boards and the thongs that attach the pages to these boards).

Especially the "medieval" and "monastic" sections are really interesting!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Purse from Dordrecht

Another purse finished!

This purse is also depicted in "Purses in pieces" and was found i Dordrecht (Holland).

The front compartment has its opening on the inside of the front flap. And this time i decided to make the front compartment from textile, rather than leather.
the description of the purse said thet the front compartment had been made from either chamois or textile.
I used unbleached linnen canvas.

(BTW: If you know where to get good quality chamois. Please tell me!)

The reason why I wanted to make this purse is the three pouchlets.
They are made from a single piece of leather. All the other purses I have made have pouchlets made from seperate pieces.
I think this solution gives the purse a much simpler look.

The dye that i used for this purse is the same that i used for the Nieuwlande-purse.

Thats two purses done. Now theres only two more to go :-)

Friday, March 27, 2009


I have been facinated by bookbinding for at least a couple of years now, and I have wanted to do something serious about it for just as long.
So, yesterday I bought some second-hand bookbinding tolls. Now I can't wait to get to work, making some books!

These are the items that I bought.
From left to right: Sewing press, Cutting press and a "plough".
Descriptions on the function of the different tools will be given as I get to try them out.

I think that these tools should be suficcient to get me started. Now I just need to find some sources on medieval bookbinings (It has to be medieval of course).

Sources for the binding of books aren't exactly numerous on the internet, but I have manageded to find some:
Medieval manuscripts on-line

And this fantastic site:
Hand bookbindings from Princeton university library

I will also use this oppotunity to post some pictures of a project that I finished sometime around July last year:

The book is made using techniques that are at least inspired by medieval bookbinding. I was not in posession of the correct materials for the project, but it gave me some interesting insight into the processes that go into making a book.

I think it came out pretty nice... Authencic materials or not :-)

The pages should have been parchment, the binding should have been oak boards, and the leather should have been thinner.
The technique for joining the pages to the cower should be pretty historicly accurate though.

Hope to show you more books soon!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Purse from Nieuwlande

Time for another purse! :-)

This time it´s a find from Nieuwlande (Holland), and based on drawings from "Purses in pieces" by Olaf Goubitz.
I can't supply you with a dating of the purse, as the author does not provide one. All I can say for certain is that it is medieval... Late medieval that is.

I decided to make this one because I really like the stabbed decoration and the shape of the girdle loops (or rather the space between them).

The binding is a typical split seam and the front compartment opens to the front of the purse rather than on the inside.

The leather was coloured using a mixture of iron and oak galls. The result is a nice bronwnish black.
After compleation the purse was greased with a mix of tallow, beeswax and pine tar. This gaves the purse a pleasant smokey odour.

On the inside are 3 small pouchlets.

And here you can see the opening to the front compartment.

The things that weren't preserved from the original are: The binding, the front flap, the pouchlets and the dravstrings.
Therefore these things might not correspond with the original purse. These parts of the purse are therefore based on guesswork - I hope that I have come close.

This is the first of 4 purses that I am currently working on. So there is more to come!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Projects in the making

As we have a whole lot of projects, but no finished items, we thought that a post about all of our "works in progress" would be in order.

There are a lot of things that needs to be done before we can be ready for this years season. First of all we need to sew a tent and make poles and tentpegs. Thats the major project.
Besides that we need to make some furniture (tables and benches) and some lanterns.

We bought the fabric for the tent a couple of weeks ago and are currently working on the "blueprints" for the whole thing. We should be ready to start cutting the fabric any time now.
The tent will be a so called "Norman style tent" and it will be 4m wide, 3m tall and about 6m long.
It will look something like this <-- Link to

The "normann tent" should be a nice tent for both sleeping and shopkeeping. And we are going to partition the tent in at least one end, to make room for sleeping.

We also need some new clothes! So yesterday we went to visit some nice "vikings" living in Fillerup (a small town near Odder, where we live). They have a small shop dealing in all kinds of re-enactment goods, like fabrics, rope, whetstones and all sorts of other materiale. We bought some very nice 2/2 wollen twill and some woll thread. The quality is very nice and it has that sweet wollen smell :-) Here is a link to their shop:

The fabric and thread should be coloured and sewn into a pair of footed hose and a new bocksten kyrtle.

The checkered fabric is for Louises' new dress. A late 14th century dress based on London findings and with fabric buttons. This will be her fist 14th century dress and she is quite looking forward to making it. The plan is also to make a new apron with smock, a head veil with frills and a new underdress without sleeves. So there are much to work on.

Louise is at the moment working on some new embroidery. She have tryed the pattern before which you can see at her old blog. This piece is going to become a small bag - maybe for her new out-fit.

We are looking forward to working on all these things... And a whole lot of other stuff. So even though the activity on this blog is somewhat low at this point, there should be plenty to read about in the future.