Crossing the Bench: Enclosure for "Response to Modern Gratitude", 1802.

We had the opportunity to build a custom enclosure for this pamphlet, "A Letter from Richard Raynal Keene to Luther Martin. . . ", 1802.  We hand dyed the calf leather we used on the spine and corners of the enclosure.  We used custom hand marbled paper that we made for our period bindings.  

This pamphlet was a response to Luther Martin's "Modern Gratitude", published by Luther Martin in 1802 about Richard Keene.  Richard Keene was Luther Martin's law clerk who fell in love with Martin's daughter Eleonora.  Keene and Eleonora eloped after Martin forbade them from getting married; this betrayal is what provoked Luther Martin to publish his pamphlet about Richard Keene.    

Keene was very hurt by his father-in-law's treatment of his own daughter as well as himself, and while he had previously determined to ignore Luther's insults, he felt that this time Martin had gone too far.  In his and his wife's defense he published his response to "Modern Gratitude".  

Read Luther Martin's "Modern Gratitude:

Here is information about Richard Keene's response, so you can find a copy for yourself.

You can find a scanned copy of Luther Martin's "Modern Gratitude" on Archive.Org. 

Crossing the Bench: Robert E. Lee Photo Album Enclosure

We recently had the opportunity to make an enclosure for a photo album of Robert E. Lee that was put together by his niece.  The book was bound in vellum and over the years the vellum had shrunk because of humidity changes, and therefore the cover was much like a drum and had bowed outward.  The enclosure we made was built up inside to specifically support the cover to allow for changes in humidity but also to help prevent any further damage.

Robert E. Lee (1807-70) was a great General of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War (1861-65).  He was known for his tactical skills, and to this day remains a respected figure in the American South.  

Want to know more about Robert E. Lee?  Check out this book.

Crossing the Bench Lately: Clamshell Boxes

The last Crossing the Bench post I wrote was all about restoration work.  This time we've been busy making clamshell enclosures, with only a couple restoration projects.   These boxes turned out beautiful too!  We made a full leather box, half-leather box, leather spine box with a hidden tray, a cloth box,  and a cloth slipcase with a leather label.  We also rebound a book in a beautiful speckled and treed calf, and we reattached a front board on a book.  We've been busy and loving every minute of it!

We added a new Resources & Links page to our website!  We're sharing some of the great suppliers we go to for our materials.  We also added links to great information about book appraisers, dealers, book collecting, and so much information!  

Resources & Links

Crossing the Bench: Book Restoration, Re-Bindings, Clamshell Box, and More!

Where is the time going?  August has been a busy month, but we're perfectly happy with that!  Here are some of the projects we've been working on lately!

Remember the photo above Joseph posted on Instagram and Facebook a few weeks ago?  This is a family owned bible, a Dutch Bible.  The family wanted light restoration and a clamshell box.

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Here is the bible restored and a beautiful custom clamshell, with our marbled paper on the boards!  The family is going to be happy:  Now they can actually open the bible without it falling apart in their hands.

Here's more of what we've been up to!

We hope you're all having a great weekend!

Make sure you're following us on Instagram and/or Facebook!  We'll be announcing a bunch of giveaways soon and up-dates about our online store re-opening September 23!  Don't miss out, follow us HERE and HERE!

Crossing the Bench: Books, Lead Type, & Leather Goods.

The past couple weeks have been crazy busy!  Can I just say when you enjoy what you do for a living, one's quality of life truly improves!  I can't say enough how happy we are working together in our small little apartment studio.  We're not rich; we have a long way to go to meet our career goals regarding this business, but we're loving the journey, and I believe this kind happiness is truly important.

Joseph has been busy restoring old books, and making clamshell boxes!  He even made time to rebind his personal set of scriptures; he's been working on rebinding his scriptures for like six months now.  I'm sure fellow craftsmen experience what I call crafter's remorse:  The feeling of guilt when one works on personal projects.  I'm happy he finished his, because now he's going to rebind mine!

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A friend of ours from Utah emailed us a few weeks ago asking us to make a wallet for her husband's birthday.  We were so excited that she asked us to do this!  She sent us specifications and we got to work.

The wallet was made in nude calf, dye in cordovan, hand-sewn with black nylon thread, and Joseph worked his magic with a wood burning tool, drawing the compass rose on the back, and stamped initials on the front.  We have a lot of fun type, so please, send us those requests! 

We took a day to cut out a bunch of patterns of our wallets and a larger wallet we just designed, and then we treed and marbled the leather cut outs!  It was a lot of work to cut and dye them, and then the process of treeing and marbling made for a very long day and night. 

Friday morning we woke up early to get a jump start on the day.  Joseph was in the middle of a couple restoration projects, and I had a bunch of wallets to sew.  After breakfast, Joseph was setting type to stamp a title on the spine of the clamshell.  The tray was pulled out of our type rack; Joe turned around for a split second when our cat Willow jumped up, landed on the tray, and the whole thing flipped over and landed upside down on the floor!  Our jaws dropped, Joe yelled out just a couple choice words, and Willow took off and hid for the rest of the day.

We've had a lot of fun designing and making our leather goods!  The black wallet is gorgeous; the leather is so pretty, it's fastened together with blackened rivets.  I'm really excited about our larger wallet:  It's made to fit a passport, credit cards, and cash of course.  This one is our first one that I made.  I had Joseph tool the large chevron pattern on the front and back; I've already filled it and am excited to put it to use! 

We hope y'all have had a fantastic week and an even better weekend!