Although the workshop is "compact and bijou" (can you see the HP sauce bottle under the nipping press in the second picture........it is a vital ingredient to a secret formula...... so is the salad cream), you wouldn't think it if you saw the size of the books I have in for restoration, I have just been sent a commission of 2 large 4to volumes from the USA and they are nothing in size compared to some of these which are in for restoration.
I've placed a wine glass and a 12" rule in the picture so you get an idea, the sizes range between 13 inches to 19 1/2 inches in length and between 2 inches and 5 inches thick.
Commissions come in various shapes and sizes though, to name a paradox would be, last month I restored and returned a minature silver prayer book ( about 1"x 1 1/4") to a client in South Carolina, whilst today I am working on a large folio bible.
I have been informed by an expert writer of newsletters that I should give interesting and educational advice, as subscribers will look forward to the next one, so here goes....
Don't attempt any kind of restoration to your rare books whatsoever........send them to me!
And don't eat yellow snow!
The main qualifications for a trade bookbinder when I was an apprentice was, not to be colour blind, and to have a good command of the English language, a printer colleague of mine who is dixlexlik X dyslek X.....can't spel....added, "the ability to read ndsipepomu and tnorf ot kcab was also necessary", except Pete IS colour blind and can't tell the difference between brown and red..... and has never.... ever... beaten me at snooker.
Because I am based in a Craft Centre I get to meet some very interesting (and weird) people, a few weeks ago a chap bought in a late edition of Charles Dickens for restoration, when I asked him for his details for the receipt he said his name was "Mr. C. Dickens", that's a coincidence I said, "not really" he replied, "he was my Great Grandfather". Taken aback I remarked, I bet you must have all his rare 1st editions! "No, only this one" he said, to which I asked, "Would you like to buy some?"
bookshop is a collection of rare items usually not found outside an
institution, private collection or ebay, and their general condition
would lend to restoration due to their scarcity.
So if you know a good restorer who understands periods and styles of binding and is sympathetic to detail using traditional hand made materials, tools and techniques, you could be on to a good investment.