It was high time to take new studio photos after my father generously provided me with this fabulous shelving system last year. Quality of life went up, and I'm not kidding! The pegboard for my most used tools is such a time saver and organising some of the smaller materials in clear plastic containers makes things much easier to find.
I also have large Ikea Alex drawers for papers, which are super handy for most things, but just a tiny bit too small for some sheets of paper, so end up with having to pile papers anyway. I used to store my linen fabric in the drawers as well, but just recently I went back to using baskets (of which you can catch a peak in the right corner above - and right there beside the baskets stands my new Dremel Workstation, also a treat from my engineer father) for the fabrics to free up space for more papers.
As you can see, I like tools, a lot. And I'm so easy to influence... Sarah of Big Jump Press shared her Tool Magnet blog post on Twitter, and before even finishing reading the post, I had ordered myself a most magical ruler from London Centre for Book Arts.
It's 50 cm long, transparent and self-centering! If you're wondering what that means and if you need it, too, I'm not sure if you need it. But if you've ever struggled measuring things out evenly from a center point (like I do almost every time I mark holes for the covers of my Coptic bindings, and on many other occasions), or if you just get giddy hearing about a ruler feature called self-centering, go ahead and buy yourself one. With postage to Finland this ruler turned into a pretty expensive one, but I justified ordering instantly instead of pondering about it for a while by telling myself the more I'd get for my money's worth the sooner I got to use the rule.
So I saved telling about this feature in case you needed some more persuading: there's a steel cutting edge. Works like a charm.
Also, millimetre measurements along the whole width - great for marking the distance of holes from the spine edge of the cover boards. (And if you're wondering how I get the holes so neat - it's all because of that awesome Dremel Workstation.)
Lots of brush experiments arose from finding this pin
on Pinterest, linking to this blog post
recommending a shaving brush for a bookbinder's glue brush. I loved the idea of having a glue brush that could stand on its own as I hate having excess glue on my brush from laying it down in the glue pot, albeit shallow, between different stages.
Sadly, my shaving brush was unable to charm me, not because it wasn't handy - it really was! - but because that damn thing sheds hair like crazy. Maybe I should've invested more money in a fancier one, but even with brushes meant for paint or glue, I've found a higher price does not guarantee any less shedding. So, for some years already, I've mostly used brushes with synthetic bristles. There's minimal shedding if any, and for my purposes the synthetic brushes seem to work even better than natural ones. The blue one above is my most recent tool acquisition, and I just love it. It's handmade in Italy by Fleur
Just after getting disappointed by the shaving brush I ran into this silicone "brush"
that's guaranteed not to shed anything. I'm very pleased with it as it makes coating larger surfaces with a thin layer of glue super quick. Turn-ins and other more detailed work still requires the use of an actual brush, but all in all this silicone brush saves a lot of time and glue, and it's really easy to clean (=just forget to clean it and pick off the dried glue).
Now onto something bigger and much less recent - I finally got round to making a tiny little video of my Louët vertical plough
in use. My parents gave it to me as a birthday-Christmas-birthday present a few years ago, and having it delivered was somewhat nightmarish. Louët was great all the way through, but the retailer had just massive problems and the worst customer service, so it took months to resolve the issues we had and have the plough finally delivered. Once the plough was safely in my care I've used it with joy and ease. I don't recommend cutting twelve books, or 36 edges, in one day, as your delicate little hands will get sore from tightening the press screws, but for a more casual use this is pretty ideal. It takes up less space than a guillotine and gives better results than any handheld plough I've tried (though I'm sure you can get great results with those if you get to practice a bit more). Sharpening the knife is also much, much easier than getting a guillotine blade sharpened. So, vertical-plough-love, totally.
If there's one tool after making all these wonderful finds lately I'm actively yearning for, it's this marking ruler
. What's your dream tool you seriously want to add to your collection? Here I'm making the assumption everyone has a tool collection of some sort. Quite revealing, I'm sure.