Binding Books I

Lani binds her first book [Weekend Challenge].

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Binding Books I

Postby Lani Stranger on December 17th, 2018, 7:05 am

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22nd of Winter, 518AV


“Lani,” The bored haughty tone of one of the Enclave’s Avora spoke up, and the mixed blood looked up from where she was loitering. She had little to do that day. Although she could be called to all corners of the city to work, she focused on Enclave work, and so when she was directed to the Enclave she tried to make herself as useful as possible. She like the copying best, as it afforded her a place to sit, time to think, and it was a rather nonsocial job which made the effort of conversation in Nari much easier. While she had noticed progress in her language skills the past two seasons, she preferred work that didn’t require the mental acrobatics of language.

The half-blooded Eypharian glanced up from where she was ringing out the dusting rag in the back room, and saw one of the more common Avora. He was not particularly rude to the Chiet, but he didn’t care for her in particular, big surprise. ”Yes Hirro?” She responded, having at least remembered his name.

”Help me with this,” He instructed, and she let the dusting rag slip into the bucket, patting her hands on her Bryda and then stepping around the thing and towards where he was working. As she approached her ebony gaze could take in what he was doing. He was making books. She recognized him as the resident paper-maker, although she hadn’t ever seen him make the books before, she realized the logic of it.

”What can I help you with?” She chirped in Nari, perfectly polite, as she circled the table to stand next to him, seeing his work.

”Help me set this table up for a chime, and then you can return to what you were doing.” As Lani circled the table to be near the Avora, she noticed the materials he had laid out. Swathes of high quality and thin shiny leather, stacks of papers, rolls of sharp thread, mixed for resin, and many interesting shaped utensils that seemed to serve a variety of purposes. As far as Lani had gathered, Hirro was the Enclaves paper-maker. She knew his job took a lot of work and time, although she had never really seen him work. While bookbinding was not quite paper-making, the foreigner was immediately able to grasp that it made sense for him to do this job as well.

”Of course,” She responded, reaching for the other side of the large swaths of leather that he held, and helping him gently fold them onto the corner of the table, so that they would not crease and he could pull one at a time to cut at it. While they positioned the leather, Lani had the guts to speak up, wanting to see if the Avora was open to receiving what she really wanted to ask him.

”It is very cool.” She spoke the Nari slowly, having made the sentence up for the first time in a while. She knew each individual word, but she had not spoken them in this order before. The Avora simply nodded, so she figured he understood what she had been trying to convey. ”Do you enjoy…?” She let her sentence pitter off, realizing she did not have the word for bookbinding in Nari.
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Binding Books I

Postby Lani Stranger on December 17th, 2018, 7:06 am

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”Book binding?”He filled in for her, arching a finger out to point at the shelf of parchment for her to retrieve some for him. She nodded and then turned to grab the supplies, clearly much larger than him. ”Yes, it is a break from paper-making, which is tedious and long. Bookbinding allows one to use the materials that paper-making makes, it can be quite pleasing.” She listened to his words, digesting them as she settled the stack of rough, uncut parchment on the table and then slid it over to the side, watching him adjust a wooden cutting board that had a measured grid pattern in it.

”Very cool,” She repeated, interested to hear that the paper-maker was not the most fond of his work. Lani had assumed all Avora loved their jobs, but it made sense that some would work a skill merely to make it to the Avora caste, whether they loved it or were as indifferent as Hirro.

”Okay, thank you, Lani.”He spoke up once they were done retrieving all the materials. Lani looked at the table with the high quality leather, wood, resin mixes, the stacks of parchment, sharp threads, and odd-looking utensils that seemed to serve various purposes, and bit her lip.

”Hirro? I am dusting today, only.” She rushed the words out, looking back up at him. ”Do you need help… bookbinding?” She asked him, repeating the word he had used for what he was preparing to do. Hirro studied her for a few ticks, and then ultimately nodded.

”Do you know how to sew, Lani?” Lani nodded, finding the wordless answer easier to lie with. ”And have you worked with leather before?” He continued, and this time Lani shook her head, sure she would not be able to bluff her way through that lie if she needed to. The Inarta before her sighed, but nodded his head, perhaps deciding that teaching someone how to help him would still be useful to his pursuits for the day. A grin split Lani’s face and she circled back to his side of the table, snagging a razor and the parchment.

”I can work of paper.” She offered, knowing that the raw parchment would have to be cut and folded into place. He nodded, furrowing his brow, and then turning to a rather empty looking shelf on the other side of the room. A single book lay and she recognized it as one of the blank books that the scribes sometimes used for larger copying projects. The little Common Tongue books in the Enclave had required her to use a few so far, and she saw now that the stock was quite lacking. The middle-aged human selected the book and then walked back to her, handing her the thing.

”Look at it, first.” He instructed, and she placed the razor down and took the book from him. She could see how the leather formed to the spine of the book, showing ridges where the threading underneath held it together. She could feel the hard cover of the thing, and realized that that was what the wood was for. She had not previously anticipated wood being apart of a book, but it now made sense that she was seeing the thing with intention. When she flipped open the book she could see that the stiff pages all came together neatly and evenly, and on the cover page at the end of the book, one page had been glued to the wood so that the leather disappeared underneath. She could trace the seams of the leather that embedded underneath the paper, but could not see where the threading that held the spine together remained. Thinking her observation complete, she nodded to the man, setting it down.
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Binding Books I

Postby Lani Stranger on December 17th, 2018, 7:07 am

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”I see it.” She chirped in Nari, and he nodded, pulling the book from the table and opening it once more. He pinched the first eight pages between his thumb and forefinger and tilted the book so she could see. He pulled slightly, and she could see the pages separate from one another just the barest amount, but enough for her to see that they seemed separate from the pages beside it.

”The books are put together in such a way so that they lay flat. We are going to work from the inside out, starting with the actual papers.” He said, his Nari coming out a little too fast, but Lani was able to understand it well enough, as she was far better at reading and hearing the language than speaking it. She nodded to the man, and he motioned for her to pick up the razor again. ”Cut thirty-two pieces of parchment into eleven by sixteen inches.” He spoke, and she nodded, immediately recognizing the sixteen would be twice the width of what the papers actually needed to be, because they would fold over.

While Lani prepared to do this, the Avora picked up an arbitrary amount of paper from the stack and his own razor, preparing to do the same. Lani was at least used to the preparing of parchment for scrolls, and so she was able to keep up with the Avora, nearly piece by piece. Together they cut out thirty-two parchments to be the exact same heights, with Lani only ending two pieces behind him. She was quite proud of herself for keeping up with the expert craftsman beside her, and so when he watched her finish her last two pieces, she was not too worried about possible judgement in his stare.

”Now fold them in half, like this.” He instructed promptly as soon as she was finished. Lani watched him fold one paper and then quickly followed suit. Within a few ticks, it was evident he was much quicker than her. Still, Lani did not attempt to catch up with him, since she was more focused on making sure her folds were correct and even than if she was keeping up with him. Much to her disappointment, however he finished his stack quickly, and then began cutting more paper. By the time she was done with her stack he had cut another stack and was beginning on folding them. Unsure if she should follow his lead or not, she reached for more paper as well, and began cutting. Hirro looked up, and shook his head as if to tell her not to do so, and within a chime was finished folding his as well. Each page looked perfectly folded and where stacked in groups of four on the table in front of him. While he finished, Lani stacked hers the same way.

”You must fold them with a bone knife so they are as tightly pressed as they can be.” Hirro spoke up, pulling a flat bone utensil from the stack of utensils, and then procuring one for her. Again she watched him do one, watching him slide the folding knife down the spine of the parchment quickly, pressing it into a fine line so that it did not still open when he let it go. Again Lani copied him, and found she could only work half as fast as he. In the time he had finished folding sixty-four pages, she was nearly done with her thirty-two. Still, the quality was just as good as his, and Lani was not upset with that. She was helping, wasn’t she?
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Binding Books I

Postby Lani Stranger on December 17th, 2018, 7:07 am

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”Now we sew.” He said, handing her a spool of hard thread and a very thick looking needle. He then handed her a slim metal utensil that had a leather covering over one end, like the razors, which let Lani know it was sharp. She took it daintily from him, and then uncovered the leather, seeing the sharp spike of the utensil.

”Use that to poke the hole before you begin to sew. But not yet.” His instructions were vague and it was clear that Hirro was not used to teaching, and that his level of knowledge on the craft was high enough that he forgot how much instructions beginners like her need. Still, the Chiet was swept up in the fluidity of his movements and knowledge on the craft, and nothing had been too hard yet. Then again, all they had done was cut and fold paper.

”Now, you should have eight quires.” He said, and Lani paused, unused to the unfamiliar word.

”What is a ‘quire’?” She interrupted, asking him for a definition. She was too caught up in the language to do the math in her head.

”Quire is just a unit of measurement for a certain amount of paper. In this case, each of our quire’s has four sheet in it, which when they are folded, make eight.” He ran through the math and Lani quickly realized the stupidity of the question, and that if she had been paying closer attention she could have done the math in her own head. The mixed blood’s cheeks warmed and she looked down nodding. The Avora seemed not to notice, already tapping his stacks of four folded parchments, or his quires, on the table to straighten them together. Once he had straightened each quire he stacked them so that all their binds faced the same direction. Lani followed his lead, stacking the eight quires on top of on another while he stacked his other book. Once they had both gathered their papers, Lani could see it already looked like a book. She knew that each book only had sixty-four pages, but they were pretty thick, and so she did not expect such a low number for such a regularly sized book. The passing thought provoked no others from her, so she turned her attention back to Hirro, paying attention to the next step.

”Now, use your awl, and punch six holes into each paper, evenly distributed on the crease.” Lani gawked at his quick words, and the unfamiliar nouns within the sentence.

”Slower please,” She asked, as he had already turned away from her. He looked up at her, confused and then seemed to remember her grasp on the language was rudimentary, and he nodded, obliging her request.
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Binding Books I

Postby Lani Stranger on December 17th, 2018, 7:08 am

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”Use this,” He held up the weirdly sharp metal utensil and named it. ”The awl, to poke six holes into the fold of the paper. Start half-an inch in from one end, and poke a hole ever two inches so that you have six holes. Watch.” He motioned her over and she scooted closer to see him grab a quire of paper and take a ruler as well, pushing it up against the seam of the paper. He guided his awl to the half-inch mark just off the edge of one end and poked it through. He then did the same thing every two inches until he reached the end, totaling six.

”Ohh,” Lani nodded, shuffling back over to her work space besides his and grabbing her awl and ruler to do the same. Instead of poking through the four pages that made up the quire, Lani decided it was a safer bet to do each page individually. She was going to be slower than Hirro regardless, so it no longer concerned her. The mixed blood was more interested in making sure she got all the holes correctly placed. Still it took her much longer to finish than him, and she found he was counting out another thirty-two pages from the parchment stack, and placing the few left back on the shelf. He began cutting them into proper lengths, but by the time Lani was done pressing holes into her quires with the awl, he was nearly done. So this time she watched him, the knowledge that he would likely complete three books in the time it took her to do one weighing a little heavy on her ego. He is Avora. She reminded herself. He did not bother to fold the parchments when he was done, already picking up his thick needle and thread to show her the next step.

”Okay, so now we sew. You said you know how, so this should not be too unfamiliar to you.” He said, and she watched as he moved over to the other end of the table where four box-like things settled. He pulled two off their stack and handed one to her. ”This jig is for the actual binding of the book.” He informed her, and she looked at the wooden thing. It was the skeleton of a box, with nooks over one end and other wise completely open. The Avora picked up a length of twine corn and began stringing it over the nooks, cutting them once they were secured in the jig, until there were six cords spread taught over the square end of the frame. He then handed it to Lani, and while she did the same, securing six chords onto her jig exactly how he did, Hirro took the new parchment he had cut and began using the bone knife to fold and crease them.

Once Lani was done, she set the twine back down and began threading her needle. She did not actually know how to sew, but she could convince him she did. Surely it wasn’t that hard.
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Binding Books I

Postby Lani Stranger on December 17th, 2018, 7:08 am

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”Hold on, Lani, it isn’t normal sewing.” Hirro stopped her, and Lani paused, turning back to him. He was trying to finish as much work as possible while teaching her, but she was proving to be an impatient student. She hoped that it showed him that she knew at least something about thread and needle though. Hirro didn’t seem to pay attention to that, selecting one quire from his first book’s stack and setting it into the jig. Lani saw how it fell into place in the wood frame, with its folded end up against the taught chords they had strung. Setting her threaded needled down, she did the same as him, fitting a single quire into the jig.

”You’re going to want to pull out a length the size of the jig,” Hirro continued his instruction, pulling the thread from the spool to the width of the jig where the spine of the book would be, and Lani copied. ”Do that for twice as many quire’s as we have, and then a few more for safety. So eighteen times.” He instructed, and Lani realized why he stopped her. Taking the thread out of the needle, she pulled out eighteen lengths of the stiff thread while Hirro did the same. This time Lani was able to keep up with him, and so he did not start on any of this other books to wait for her.

”Now the first one can be a little tough,” He spoke slowly so that she could understand but the tone of his voice made her frown at the thought of what they were about to do. ”But once you get more quires in to hold the first one down, it will be easier.”He assured her, threading his needle. Lani threaded her needle as well, folding the length of string all the way over to make a knot with the other end, and prepared to begin sewing in his way.

”And we start going through the bottom quire from the outside there,” Lani watched his first demonstration, waiting on doing her own until she got used to what he was doing. She nodded when he looked up at her to make sure she was paying attention and watched. ”Then draw it out through the next hole, and wrap it around the chord and back in through the same hole.” She watched him, now realizing what the chords would do. If each quire was held together simply be being held together, the chords were going to hold each quire together.

”Got it.” She sounded off in Nari, stepping back and returning to her stacks of paper to do the same. He seemed satisfied with her eager work and quickness to learn, and just nodded at her acceptance of it. Having watched him do it, Lani began by threading in through the bottom most hole and then out through the other. She wrapped it around the chord once and then poked the thread back through the hole. It was not hard, but she had nearly twenty feet of thread to string through each hole, and so she found it a little tedious. She could hear Hirro working quickly beside her, but again had to remind herself that he was much better at it than her and that as long as she focused on the quality of her work, it would be fine. By the time Lani reached the end, she realized she was not entirely certain how to attach another quire.
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Binding Books I

Postby Lani Stranger on December 17th, 2018, 7:09 am

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It took the mixed blood a few ticks to look realize it would be the exact same as the last one just in the opposite direction. Her thread strung out from the last hole that had no chord attached to it and so she could just feed it back into the outermost hole on the next quire and mirror the process. When Lani reached the other end of the second quire, where it would not connect to the quire below, she simply strung it through the beginning knot of her binding process, and then added another quire, continuing on like normal. Lani began mirroring her work from the quire below and then adding the next quire to the stack, securing the binding chord to the book with the process. She found that as she neared the end, it used up her thread and while she was still focusing on keeping the thread taught and functional, it went quicker as she had less to pull through each hole. By the time she had stacked all eight quires and they had a neat and even spine attached to the chords, she turned back to see what Hirro was doing, and how he was going to finish it off. He was half way through his second book, when he seemed to sense her hovering by his shoulder, watching his work.

”Just tie it off.” He spoke as if the solution was simple, and she realized she might know it if she had actually learned how to sew. So Lani turned back to her own work, adjusting the chords and ensuring that each loop was secure and perfectly placed while she waiting for him to finish, watching his stitches closely. When he was finished he hooked the thread through the loop below it and secured a simply knot, slicing the excess thread off with his razor. Realizing it was much simpler than she imagined, she also hooked her thread through the loop below it and tied it off.

”Now, you have what is called a book block.” He said, removing the chords and book from the jig. Lani also unhooked her chords from the jig and removed her book. Immediately she could tell her’s was a more loose than his tight spine, but decided it was not worth mentioning. Where he manipulated the sheets together until the spine was curved, hers was a little wonky and slid easily between her fingers, but at least did not lose its binding.


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Lani Stranger
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Binding Books I

Postby Ssezzkero on December 26th, 2018, 10:48 pm

Planning +3, Socialization +1, Subterfuge +2, Bookbinding +5, Mathematics +1, Organization +1, Sewing +3, Bookbinding: Materials needed, Subterfuge: Telling white lies, Observation: Seeing out a book is made, Bookbinding: Start working with the paper, Quire: A measurement of paper, Work Ethic: Don’t rush to ensure quality, Bone knife: Used to crease a fold, Bookbinding: Use of bone knife, Awl: Used to create a hole, Bookbinding: Use of awl, Mathematics: Using a ruler to measure, Sewing: How to thread a needle, Bookbinding: The use of sewing, Sewing: Thread around a chord, Bookbinding: Bookbinding jig, Subterfuge: Backing up a white lie, Sewing: Tying off a thread, Bookbinding: Book Block
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