Penguin Project

This is where it began

X needed a copy of 'Decline and Fall' for school. My extremely elderly copy came home from the first day in pieces. Quick rebind to get it usable again.

Made me look at my copy of 'Brighton Rock' with new eyes. It was 55 years old and showing it's age. Glue gone. And it made me think how cool it was to take something that was always meant to be cheap and disposable, bought for the price of a cup of coffee at a train station, and spend way more time and effort than it was originally worth recreating it. But the classic Penguin Design has become so evocative!

The orange cloth is so nearly a match for Penguin Orange, although the original parts of the cover are foxed and discoloured. I like the age on them. I trimmed the title section to make an even gap from the writing to the edge, but next time I might try retaining as much as possible. The long recess down the spine was so I could move the title/author so they matched the cover. Next time I might cut the spine piece in one, but when it gets taken off, it is often damaged, making that more difficult.

Penguin Project Take 1

There's something so iconic about an old penguin. The two above led me to thinking about rebinding one of each colour. I like the idea of taking a books that were designed to be affordable and ephemeral and making them much fancier and more substantial.

I finally got around to adding a green (mystery and crime) to the orange of 'Brighton Rock'. 'Raffles' was/is my Mum's and was destined for the bin when it, also, came apart. It's been sitting in a shoe box until this week.

And got a chance to use my new finishing press (thanks Jim at affordable Bookbinding Equipment and my new dedicated press bench (thanks Gordon).

Still waiting in the shoe box are a red and a blue - both also Mum's. I think that's all the colours of the originals. Except maybe grey and I've never seen one of those. (Actually Wikipedia tells me there were cerise-travel, yellow-miscellaneous and purple-essays. So I'm a few short)

This was one of those binds where everything went right. Only needed slight trim out of end papers. Pushed the case well against the spine to get a good square.

The Penguin Project Take 2

I finally finished all colours of Penguins. (I know there are others but I don't have them). The red and blue were section stitched so needed more work. I trimmed the red with my new finishing press and a French paring knife in lieu of a plough. It took more off than I was happy with so I simply sanded the blue.

On the red and blue I experimented with rounding the edge of the spine side of the cover boards and the groove side of the spine board. I don't think it gives as crisp a finish.

Interestingly, although the proportions between the three sections on the front are the same between the four books, sometimes the smaller section is at the top, sometimes at the bottom.

Also interesting is the change in the penguins. One is a pair, one is dancing. I thought the red book cloth was a bit dull and maybe my book had faded. But the spine penguin is downloaded from the internet and matches exactly. On the blue one I managed to save the bookshop sticker from the front and put it inside.

But I'm not done. In my heart of hearts I know there's still grey. And yellow. And pink. And purple. Alibris, here I come.