rhu: (torah)
No pictures yet, but prototype three is constructed. A few glitches along the way -- I need to study better how the hinges work because I ended up with the front endpaper gapping when the book is open. But it feels good in the hand and overall I'm pleased with the appearance.

In related news, I have finally after many years (and at the urging of Andrew Wiener of Catering by Andrew) made up Hoshana cards -- that is, the words of all the hoshanot prayers on a 4"-wide 11"-tall card that can be conveniently held while also holding the arba minim and marching around the shul. These are two-up; print the file double-sided, cut it in half lengthwise, and laminate if you wish. Please let me know if you find any errors and feel free to forward the link to anyone else you think would want it.
rhu: (torah)
No pictures yet, but prototype three is constructed. A few glitches along the way -- I need to study better how the hinges work because I ended up with the front endpaper gapping when the book is open. But it feels good in the hand and overall I'm pleased with the appearance.

In related news, I have finally after many years (and at the urging of Andrew Wiener of Catering by Andrew) made up Hoshana cards -- that is, the words of all the hoshanot prayers on a 4"-wide 11"-tall card that can be conveniently held while also holding the arba minim and marching around the shul. These are two-up; print the file double-sided, cut it in half lengthwise, and laminate if you wish. Please let me know if you find any errors and feel free to forward the link to anyone else you think would want it.
rhu: (Default)
I finished stitching the text block while in NYC, and Monday night I glued mesh over the spine and added head bands. I also cut and glued the boards and cloth for the cover, but I'm unhappy with how that turned out --- the spine is about 1/8" too narrow --- so I'm going to save that cover for some other project and try again tonight. I still hope to have time to finish before this Shabbat. (If I am successful with tonight's cover, I can glue the text block in tomorrow night and I'll be fine.)
rhu: (Default)
I finished stitching the text block while in NYC, and Monday night I glued mesh over the spine and added head bands. I also cut and glued the boards and cloth for the cover, but I'm unhappy with how that turned out --- the spine is about 1/8" too narrow --- so I'm going to save that cover for some other project and try again tonight. I still hope to have time to finish before this Shabbat. (If I am successful with tonight's cover, I can glue the text block in tomorrow night and I'll be fine.)
rhu: (torah)
I had hoped to have prototype 3 of my siddur (prayer book) bound before this Shabbat. That's not going to happen at this point. I've hit a few snags and I am now at the point that all the pages are printed and folded. It's too late tonight to start stitching, and that means that there's just no way that I'll be able to complete assembly by Shabbat.

But on the positive side, I should be able to have the stitching done by the end of the weekend, so I should have it completely bound by next Shabbat, when we enter the most liturgically challenging month of the year. And I'm really pleased with my layouts for the piyutim.
rhu: (torah)
I had hoped to have prototype 3 of my siddur (prayer book) bound before this Shabbat. That's not going to happen at this point. I've hit a few snags and I am now at the point that all the pages are printed and folded. It's too late tonight to start stitching, and that means that there's just no way that I'll be able to complete assembly by Shabbat.

But on the positive side, I should be able to have the stitching done by the end of the weekend, so I should have it completely bound by next Shabbat, when we enter the most liturgically challenging month of the year. And I'm really pleased with my layouts for the piyutim.
rhu: (Default)
I spent nearly two hours tonight trying to figure out how to get Acrobat Reader and my new HP printer to correctly produce protoype 2 of my book )

So now, 2:30 later than I'd planned, I have a printed and folded text block. I had planned to punch the holes tonight as well and maybe even start sewing it together.... I still hope to have "prototype 2" ready for use by Tuesday night.

I think I'm ready for yesterday's Byron Walden puzzle --- that should be easy and relaxing by comparison!
rhu: (Default)
I spent nearly two hours tonight trying to figure out how to get Acrobat Reader and my new HP printer to correctly produce protoype 2 of my book )

So now, 2:30 later than I'd planned, I have a printed and folded text block. I had planned to punch the holes tonight as well and maybe even start sewing it together.... I still hope to have "prototype 2" ready for use by Tuesday night.

I think I'm ready for yesterday's Byron Walden puzzle --- that should be easy and relaxing by comparison!
rhu: (Default)
Here are the pictures I promised you: Cut for size and bandwidth )

Shabbat morning, I was asked to be sh'liach tzibbur (prayer leader) and I was delighted to use my siddur for the first time in that capacity. I did feel that the beauty of the page inspired me to beauty in my singing.

Having the musical notation worked exactly as I had hoped in two spots. When we reached the piyyut (song) "El Adon," I blanked on a melody, so I simply picked #4 in the book and started singing. It was a melody that I like but that I can never come up with under the pressure of the moment. Perfect. And between Sh'ma and Amidah I often have trouble getting back into the Shabbat morning nusach (prayer modes) from chanting the Sh'ma using the Torah cantillation. Again, I just glanced at the musical notes to remind my brain of where it was supposed to be and I recovered.

I haven't yet gotten the chance to add the musical notation to the Hallel, and I actually blanked at Hodu Lashem Ki Tov --- but by that point I was riding high and simply improvised a new responsive tune. The congregation was enough in my groove that they handled the de novo call-and-response just fine, and I felt that unique elation that comes from leading the joyous singing of the Hallel.

When I set the siddur down while carrying the Torah scroll around, my rabbi picked it up and started leafing through it. His assessment: "This is really coming along nicely. You should publish it commercially when it's done." That was just the icing on the cake. (The chrein on the gefilte fish?)

The whole experience convinced me that I'm on the right track with this project. It made my tefillot (prayers) more beautiful and more spiritually satisfying. It made me a more effective sh'liach tzibbur (prayer leader). And although I started off trying to create something for myself, I seem to have stumbled on something that other people value as well.
rhu: (Default)
Here are the pictures I promised you: Cut for size and bandwidth )

Shabbat morning, I was asked to be sh'liach tzibbur (prayer leader) and I was delighted to use my siddur for the first time in that capacity. I did feel that the beauty of the page inspired me to beauty in my singing.

Having the musical notation worked exactly as I had hoped in two spots. When we reached the piyyut (song) "El Adon," I blanked on a melody, so I simply picked #4 in the book and started singing. It was a melody that I like but that I can never come up with under the pressure of the moment. Perfect. And between Sh'ma and Amidah I often have trouble getting back into the Shabbat morning nusach (prayer modes) from chanting the Sh'ma using the Torah cantillation. Again, I just glanced at the musical notes to remind my brain of where it was supposed to be and I recovered.

I haven't yet gotten the chance to add the musical notation to the Hallel, and I actually blanked at Hodu Lashem Ki Tov --- but by that point I was riding high and simply improvised a new responsive tune. The congregation was enough in my groove that they handled the de novo call-and-response just fine, and I felt that unique elation that comes from leading the joyous singing of the Hallel.

When I set the siddur down while carrying the Torah scroll around, my rabbi picked it up and started leafing through it. His assessment: "This is really coming along nicely. You should publish it commercially when it's done." That was just the icing on the cake. (The chrein on the gefilte fish?)

The whole experience convinced me that I'm on the right track with this project. It made my tefillot (prayers) more beautiful and more spiritually satisfying. It made me a more effective sh'liach tzibbur (prayer leader). And although I started off trying to create something for myself, I seem to have stumbled on something that other people value as well.
rhu: (Default)
Small disappointment first: As I feared, the text block didn't go in quite right. When the book is closed, the front cover is slightly raised; when the book is open, there's some sort of torsion going on that skews the text block by about five degrees. Had this been the "real" one I'd be furious; since this is the trial one, I'm simply taking notes.

But overall, I'm really really pleased. It looks like a real book. It feels like a real book. It's attractive, comfortable to hold and to leaf through, and a successful "proof of concept." I'll use it for a few weeks, doing "usability testing" and figuring out what else I need to do differently for the next one.

Pictures to follow.
rhu: (Default)
Small disappointment first: As I feared, the text block didn't go in quite right. When the book is closed, the front cover is slightly raised; when the book is open, there's some sort of torsion going on that skews the text block by about five degrees. Had this been the "real" one I'd be furious; since this is the trial one, I'm simply taking notes.

But overall, I'm really really pleased. It looks like a real book. It feels like a real book. It's attractive, comfortable to hold and to leaf through, and a successful "proof of concept." I'll use it for a few weeks, doing "usability testing" and figuring out what else I need to do differently for the next one.

Pictures to follow.
rhu: (Default)
It looks like a real book! (A real book wrapped in wax paper sitting under heavy weights, at the moment, but nonetheless....)

The text block (i.e., the signatures all stitched together) looked and felt exactly like the text block from a professionally produced hardcover when I was done stitching it. The cover (boards glued to fabric) that I made this morning was just the right size for the text block -- actually a smidge too large, which is fine.

The only thing that I may be unhappy with is that I may have glued the text block a little too close to the spine; the book closes but it feels a little springier than it did when I was doing a dry runthrough. The "Yes!" brand adhesive that I'm using is not very forgiving -- you basically get about five seconds to line things up and then they are never going to separate again.

But, then again, this is the one on which it's ok to make mistakes.

So, it's going to sit under weights overnight, and we'll see what it's like in the morning. I'm not going to put the title on the exterior until Sunday at the earliest, but I did take pictures before assembling it tonight and I hope to post some of them over the weekend.

I think bookbinidng is going to turn into a very gratifying hobby.
rhu: (Default)
It looks like a real book! (A real book wrapped in wax paper sitting under heavy weights, at the moment, but nonetheless....)

The text block (i.e., the signatures all stitched together) looked and felt exactly like the text block from a professionally produced hardcover when I was done stitching it. The cover (boards glued to fabric) that I made this morning was just the right size for the text block -- actually a smidge too large, which is fine.

The only thing that I may be unhappy with is that I may have glued the text block a little too close to the spine; the book closes but it feels a little springier than it did when I was doing a dry runthrough. The "Yes!" brand adhesive that I'm using is not very forgiving -- you basically get about five seconds to line things up and then they are never going to separate again.

But, then again, this is the one on which it's ok to make mistakes.

So, it's going to sit under weights overnight, and we'll see what it's like in the morning. I'm not going to put the title on the exterior until Sunday at the earliest, but I did take pictures before assembling it tonight and I hope to post some of them over the weekend.

I think bookbinidng is going to turn into a very gratifying hobby.
rhu: (Default)
If you need an even number of holes along an 8" span, doing them every inch is not correct. (Classic fencepost error.)

Even when using a blunt-tipped needle, it's still possible to stich through the middle of the thread on the other side. This is bad.

Although the book says to wax the thread, the waxy part of the thread is actually harder to use and the part I didn't wax yet is sliding more easily through the holes.

Calculate the total length of the thread before starting to sew the signatures together, because it's going to be one continuous thread from the start of the first signature to the end of the last signature, and there will be actual knots every so often so you won't be able to adjust by feeding more thread up from the beginning.

Keep repeating: This is the one where everything will go wrong. That's how we learn. To paraphrase Brooks, "Build one to put in shaymos."
rhu: (Default)
If you need an even number of holes along an 8" span, doing them every inch is not correct. (Classic fencepost error.)

Even when using a blunt-tipped needle, it's still possible to stich through the middle of the thread on the other side. This is bad.

Although the book says to wax the thread, the waxy part of the thread is actually harder to use and the part I didn't wax yet is sliding more easily through the holes.

Calculate the total length of the thread before starting to sew the signatures together, because it's going to be one continuous thread from the start of the first signature to the end of the last signature, and there will be actual knots every so often so you won't be able to adjust by feeding more thread up from the beginning.

Keep repeating: This is the one where everything will go wrong. That's how we learn. To paraphrase Brooks, "Build one to put in shaymos."
rhu: (Default)
So I've started to work on creating a properly bound draft of my siddur (prayer book) project. This is the one to find out what's going to go wrong. (So far, I've learned that if you have a one-bit-deep color image embedded in a PDF, Acrobat Reader 8 renders it correctly onscreen but as black and white to the printer. Ouch.)

Last night I printed and folded all the signatures (that took about two hours for a 128p codex). This morning I cut the boards and cloth for the cover and glued them together. I hope to stitch the signatures today and do the final assembly tonight, so it can dry for a day and be usable by Shabbat.

It brings back fond memories of the book-repair table in the library office at HCHS. JH was the book-repair master -- he could fix anything and I think he's the only person ever to log over 1,000 hours volunteering at the library. I never qualified to fix anything significant; mostly I did accession paperwork and worked front desk. But looking back on it, the library clique was the coolest nerd thing about high school. (I didn't realize we were a clique until just now.)
rhu: (Default)
So I've started to work on creating a properly bound draft of my siddur (prayer book) project. This is the one to find out what's going to go wrong. (So far, I've learned that if you have a one-bit-deep color image embedded in a PDF, Acrobat Reader 8 renders it correctly onscreen but as black and white to the printer. Ouch.)

Last night I printed and folded all the signatures (that took about two hours for a 128p codex). This morning I cut the boards and cloth for the cover and glued them together. I hope to stitch the signatures today and do the final assembly tonight, so it can dry for a day and be usable by Shabbat.

It brings back fond memories of the book-repair table in the library office at HCHS. JH was the book-repair master -- he could fix anything and I think he's the only person ever to log over 1,000 hours volunteering at the library. I never qualified to fix anything significant; mostly I did accession paperwork and worked front desk. But looking back on it, the library clique was the coolest nerd thing about high school. (I didn't realize we were a clique until just now.)

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Andrew M. Greene

January 2013

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