Leopold Bloom gets a new suit – the rebinding of ‘Ulysses’

Rodney came to my bindery with a project:
“Here is a new copy of Ulysses – my favourite book. I killed the last one and I want this one to last, and to be a bit special. I think I want to torture my children with the challenge to read it, like my father did to me [snigger]”

Rodney supplied a new copy of Ulysses (two, actually – he bought two different versions in case one of the bindings was more suitable), which I dismantled down to it’s bare textblock, to start the binding process again, but this time the trusted old-fashioned way.

Hand-sewn endbands, in deep teal and red, with plenty of sturdy tie-downs into the block, so this book will be really strong on the shelf, and in your hands. It is also very beautiful.

Endpapers in turquoise (a nod to the cover colour of the version Rodney read to death), beautiful alongside the colours of the leather and endband threads), then onto various structural elements along the spine, in order – kozo barrier, linen, Hannemuhle lining, hollowback, then finally manila to line the boards and give a smooth base for the leather.

My brief was to use the most simple element to title this book.. or indeed no title at all. ‘Ulysses’ is iconic, and particularly in Rodney’s family. I decided on an embossed letter U, in a design resembling the deliberate construction (or deconstruction?) of the Typeface.  I intended to also blind stamp a letter U in the spine, but Rod hasn’t decided he wants that yet..  we can add that later perhaps.

The string is to pull the leather into the back-cornering at the head and tail – this assists in forming sharp caps. Soon, the string will come of and I will lightly dress the leather.

I have kept the second textblock – Rod doesn’t need it and it’s an equally good sewn structure, so I may bind it too when I have the time.

Onto the next patient – a lovely petit book of map plates to mend and rebind.

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