Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tools rule

I never thought that one of my most important tools might be the one I can't even properly name. Having surveyed tool sellers, users, and the google, it's clear this tool is far from a punch. But what is it? "Cold chisel" is about as close as I can get to a specific description of this fetching piece of metalware, but other than that, it's almost a free-for-all of description. Is my chisel—which I use for whacking narrow slots in bookboard—"flat," "diamond point," or what?

Left: What a chisel makes possible in bookbinding. Above: Note no bevel at the cutting edge, as with many other chisels.

The online photographs and illustrations can be the worst, labeled something different from the text and then entirely contradictory to other sites'. Get your illos right, people!

That's exactly what we're trying to do—and even the reason for this rant on chisel identification—for the final push on art for the Chinese bookbinding book that seems to have no end (in production work anyway; why did I think writing it would be the hardest part?). It should be bound in some form or another in the coming Year of the Sheep. 

If you know how to better specify the tool I use to make the simple, elegant Chinese shutao ("book clothes") case, please dish it.