Friday, September 18, 2015

That One-Sixteenth of an Inch

     This piece, trimmed from an oversize spine strip, fits neatly between the 1/16” marks on my ruler. It’s the visual for one of my recurring technique difficulties: I am too slow.
     For me, an exact cut can be elusive. I am nearsighted with an astigmatism, and also I came to bookbinding later in life and do not have decades of built-in muscle memory. That 1/16 of an inch can give me fits. I measure and re-measure, squint, remove my glasses and put them back on, and sometimes use a magnifier. Often I cut oversize, and finally resort to what bookbinder Laura Young calls “judicious trimming.”
     A kindly bookbinder at a Guild of Book Workers party commiserated with me: “That one-sixteenth of an inch!” Maybe it's a common baby-boomer affliction.
     In any case, I am cautious when wielding my Olfa Silver blade. Eventually, the work gets completed. It takes the time that it takes.