Paperback Writer

For the way it integrates the tasks of taking photos, sending emails, texting, listening to music or podcasts, web browsing–and of course, making calls–saying that the smartphone is a remarkable piece of technology seems understated. To date, all the photos on this blog have been taken on my iPhone 4G. While I’m yet to post via it, I have downloaded the WordPress app that allows me to update from virtually anywhere.

Still, I use books. As piece of information technology, the two thousand year old codex is also remarkably successful. While the vast majority of my colleagues at work own smartphones, they still prefer to take notes, make drawings, and work through ideas by putting a pen to paper. Will we be the last generation still using this antiquated method, or are there still instances in which the book is the superior form?

See below the construction process of the back-pocket paperback I like to carry around with me for those instances when I feel something is better put down on paper.

Book Press

It appears the fates have conspired. Just a week after I find a guillotine paper cutter, I stumble upon this book press:

Prior to being cleaned up.

After some help from an eco-friendly citrus-based grease and grime cleaner:

It’s hard for me to think it’s just coincidence. I think this means I should seriously consider setting up a studio.

And there does happen to be a tool shed next to my studio-apartment!

While it may have looked nice on the floor in my studio…

…it’s the first step in turning the tool shed into a workshop:

Also, I got the guillotine working…more to follow!

Lab Notebooks – Part I

I work in lab. A few months ago I decided, from that point on, to make every laboratory notebook that I would use. The first notebook came out like this:

To my delight, I was able to make this entirely from extra materials lying around in the Walter Feldman Book Arts Studio at Brown University.

The white stripe was actually an afterthought, but I really enjoy how it came out.

Of course, I filled up all 48 sheets rather quickly.

My new notebook is going to have smaller sized leaves (5 1/2″ by 8 1/2″), but 96 of them. Right now I’ve only sewn the signatures.

The endsheets are handmade by a friend of mine, using potatoes.

More to come after I build the cover.

Guillotine – Part I

I came up with the idea to start this blog while I was working to repair this bad boy…

Not a bad Christmas present...

This was rusting out in front of my uncle's house for about two years before I discovered it last week.

I’m a scientist/engineer by trade, but I try to incorporate creative pursuits into my life as much as I can. In this blog I aim to explore and share these efforts, which may range from bread baking to bookbinding, fashion floundering to machinery meddling.

To begin, here are some photos of a guillotine paper cutter that I’m fixing up.

WD40 rarely ceases to amaze.

I was having issues moving the stage.

Everything moved like it should, except the stage. The traveling stage, at the bottom of the picture, is what allows you to measure out how much paper you want to cut. Instead of moving back and forth, the stage would pivot on an axis in the plane of the bed and perpendicular to its direction of travel.

It helps when your other uncle has drawers full of socket wrenches.

It helps when your other uncle has drawers full of socket wrenches.

Armed with WD40 and wrenches, I managed to liberate the traveling stage from its mount. The bottom of the mount is threaded through, and so the mount remained fixed in the track running through the middle of the bed.

The next step was to remove the thread…

Socket wrench, I couldn't have done it without you.

This thread still needs to be removed.

The plan is to take it all apart, clean it in naval jelly to strip away all the rust, and then put it back together, sealed with butcher’s wax to keep it clean.

After that, I’ll need to find a replacement blade, or someone who can sharpen this one…