DIY Missal and Hymnal

Photo from the Campion MissalCorpus Christi watershed have unveiled plans for their new St Edmund Campion Missal and Hymnal for the Extraordinary form of the Mass.

It is a great idea – an all in one pew book with everything you need to join in all the parts of the Latin Mass that people are supposed to – singing the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei. Yes, you guys in the pews are supposed to be singing along. As well as that it has all the propers so people can follow all the parts that change from day to day – praying with understanding!

After all that the hymns section is like icing on the cake.

What a great idea! In fact, such a great idea that here’s one I prepared earlier. I call it Congregavit nos in unum, or the Draft Traditional Hymnbook. Okay, it’s not quite so swish, it has no colour pages, the kyriale is abridged (leaving out Masses 3,5,6,14,15), and instead of the entire propers it only has the epistle and gospel of each Sunday and Feast Day. But it’s cheaper and the source code is available so it can be customised to suit your local circumstances.

But with all that, the Campion Missal still comes out ahead. With the advantage of a large scale project you can have finer paper in a hard cover to last longer. They are also working to keep the price down to make it affordable for parishes to purchase in quantity.

But the Campion Missal is not ready yet. You can get a copy of my pale imitation Congregavit nos in unum via Lulu right now. Printed and shipped from a country near you (Australian orders are processed in Melbourne). As I write this it is still at cost price, I don’t get a cut yet until I’m sure it’s all fine and hopefully it will one day have an Imprimatur and be all finished and stuff. It’s still a useful book as is, and you can check this all out by downloading the pdf version from the sourceforge page.

More bookbinding

It is easier after you’ve made a few books. I haven’t kept count but it’s more than fifty so far. This time around I’m taking short cuts. The project is to make draft copies – not for the demands of daily wear and tear. Also I’m not 100% keen on landing the commission of making the final copies, so it is in my interest to do a poor job here. But one that shows off the contents well enough that they go ahead with the project.

So, shortcut one: using regular 80gsm Reflex copy paper on special from the Post Office. The lighter paper curls more, and jams more. This is plain and too white, but it works.

I’ve also changed the way I print and cut the pages. Now I’m using the whole width of the A4 stock. Only two slices and I get two books. It doesn’t print the thumbs right to the top and bottom edge, but I can live with that. Also means the guide on the guillotine can stay in the same place all the time – no realigning during or between book blocks.

So you line up the book in the guillotine, remembering to put in the end papers too, clamp it down good and tight, hope for the best and pull down the lever. Sometimes it cuts good (see right). Sometimes the stack can skew as the blade comes down and it cuts bad. And there’s no undo button. And it’s a 292 page book that you don’t want to print again. The first sign is the trimmings (see left). See the words of the thumbs sliced off a bit. This is where Patience is required. The way to avoid this is to clamp the paper down very tight indeed. It will appear to buckle a little but that is better than watching the bottom of the stack slide towards the blade as you’re halfway there.

Then you straighten up the pages. Now if pages were flat this would be fine. Tap tap tap, all ready. But after the printing the pages curl and it requires more patience to get the spine edge lined up perpendicular or orthogonal, and then to hold it straight while you transfer the block to the press.

I’m using two presses, a wooden one and one made of two rulers and two clamps. The ruler press needs a box to sit in. The wooden one sits on the table. Both ways work fine. The ruler way is a little easier getting the pages straight, but tends to sit closer to the gutter edge, leaving less room to glue the spinecloth down the sides, but you learn to compensate for that. The wooden one inspires more confidence and is a bit more stable.

Then you get lots of PVA glue and brush it liberally over the spine, being careful to avoid getting it on the other edges of the book that need to be able to open – you can always fix these with a craft knife afterwards, but better if you can avoid the need. My junior photographer didn’t get a good shot of this step. It is a bit daunting spread wet stuff on your newly printed and cut book, but it does generally work out for the best and is not so taxing as some of the other steps here.

Then you get your spine cloth. Hopefully you have some already cut to a handy size ready to apply to the wet glue. I’m not sure what this fabric is I’m using tonight. It’s something like very worn out sheets or pillowcases. Maybe an old shirt. It’s lightweight but still holding together. Some use a more open weave fabric like muslin, but others recommend a tighter weave. To my mind the more threads holding it together the better.

The spine cloth helps hold the spine more closed. It’s good that the spine fans out a little before you put the glue on because the glue can get at more of the pages. Putting the spine cloth on you sort of spread it out taught and then stick down the sides onto the endpapers to hold the spine fairly closed. Then I brush more glue on for good measure. The glue really shrinks away when its dry, so seems good to really go crazy. When this bottle is finished I can open my big 2L bottle – but probably keep refilling the little bottle so it doesn’t all dry our too much. Also this is where I wash the brushes, only to change my mind and do some more glue-ing and then wash the brushes again. The water-based PVA does wash out, but you want to be thorough so the brush will be bendable next time.

So then I decided to try glueing ribbons in place – a risky business getting them on the top of the spine, but we’ll see in the morning.Found decent size rolls of 3mm ribbon at the local Filipino run junk shop. Lots of colours and patterns available.

The books are not quite finished yet and i am done for tonight. In the morning I plan to apply self adhesive cardboard and cloth tape for the spine to make a simple cover.

12 American soldiers walk into a French widow’s house in WW1

Warm fuzzy may not be the first thing you associate with WWI, but this short story by Joyce Kilmer is something like it. It is also amazingly striking for Catholics – how religion can transcend national, cultural, linguistic boundaries.

From the intro:

Joyce Kilmer was born in New Brunswick in 1886; studied at Rutgers College and Columbia University; taught school; worked on the staff of the Standard Dictionary; passed through phases of socialism and Anglicanism into the Catholic communion, and joined the Sunday staff of the New York Times in 1913. He was killed fighting in France in 1918. This sketch is taken from the second of the three volumes in which Robert Cortes Holliday, his friend and executor, has collected Joyce Kilmer’s work.

The title and the intro emphasize the Irish-ness of the story – what do you think? Is it really about Ireland or another country I’ve heard of long ago, most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know?

Also I’m currently rereading Prince Caspian for the boys and just read Doctor Cornelius telling the young Prince about how the modern people are supressing all talk of Old Narnia. You see more and more this modern aversion to passing on Christianity. If you go for grants so many of them are specifically for non religious groups. Looking for a free Moodle host, again there is this stipulation that they not be used for religious purposes. Religion has become something very like a dirty word – except less acceptable.

As in Narnia, part of the problem is the fracture of Christianity. So many splinter groups with different agendas! But getting back to Joyce Kilmer’s story you glimpse the real deal. The very word Religion comes from the word to bind – it should be a uniting force rather than an individualistic personal thing.

In the end we shall know as we are known. Until then, pray for me and live in such a way that we may be reunited in a blessed eternity.

DIY book binding

stack of printed paperOne way to bind a book so it can open flattish and look passably traditional. To start with take a stack of paper. Run it through the printer if you like printed books, or leave blank if you like books to write or draw in. Thick books are a great way to learn how to clear paper jams on your printer. Good printers have all sorts of levers and things to open out to access almost any part of the pathway the paper travels. Make sure you get all the pieces if the page is ripped.

Guillotine Next you might like to trim your paper to size. You can use a ruler and cutting blade but after a while you might find yourself eyeing off a guillotine or paper stack cutter. The one in the picture is said to cut through 40mm of paper which is roughly 400 pages 80gsm or 500 70gsm. Also, as an aside, Kmart sells cheap 70gsm paper. It does tend to jam, about once every 200 pages, but it is thinner and less stridently white – more grey with tiny flecks. Xerox sells a better quality 75gsm paper that doesn’t jam so much and a local paper merchant by the name of Vilensky can get a4 60gsm paper intended for those carbon paper pads, but that costs more and tends to curl alarmingly when coming through the printer – but it didn’t jam.

sliced thumbnailA word of warning about Guillotines. They generally come with a perspex guard around the cutting area which makes it very difficult to see where the blade is going to cut the paper. The guard can come off easily and makes it simpler to align the paper – BUT IT IS THERE FOR A REASON. Even with the blade stationary in the air just hitting your finger against it can cause a significant cut. This picture shows the nice swoosh sort of pattern which is where the blade caught my thumbnail while I was lining up the paper. This is two days after the injury, but it did bleed at the time and was quite painful. If it can cut through the nail so easily I don’t want to try it with skin. So the perspex cover is back on.

book pressOnce the paper is trimmed you can add folded endpapers and put it in some sort of clamp or book press ready to glue. I’m using red paper for the endpapers. Here I’ve used two types of PVA glue – Selley’s Aquadhere and a cheap EC brand PVA glue. The Aquadhere is very strong and dries very clear. The cheap stuff is more dilute and ends up more flexible. The cloth is a seaside print, probably poly-cotton. You shouldn’t be able to see the print once the book is all put together. There are great videos on this step at Temper Productions. Those instructions say to “fan glue” by bending over the pages to fan the edges out a bit and get more glue on the edges. It didn’t seem to be so good for these books – simpler just to brush on plenty of glue and it makes enough contact with the edges of the pages. Only time will tell.

I leave the book in the press for a few hours to let the glue dry before taking it out. The glue is supposed wait 12 hours before stressing the join so do try to resist the temptation to open up the book and see how the spine bends. It should be better to wait a day or so before opening the book right up.

materials for the caseNext its time to make the case or cover for the book. Here I have two boards made of some self-adhesive cardboard that my husband happens to have. It is a bit thinner than the 1.8mm box board I was using before. Theoretically the self adhesive-ness makes it easier, but it has its own drawbacks and I’d say you don’t miss much if you can’t find it.

The board is cut to the size of the book. About the same width as the book but a little taller. The board will sit just a little in from the spine so should stick out over the other three edges.

The spine piece is a slice of 80gsm paper. Any writing on it does tend to show through the spine so its best if at least one side is blank. Here I should have the blank side of the spine and the adhesive side of the cardboard face up.

Spine tapedThis is 72mm Tenacious cloth tape. I got it from Qualtape. It’s the matt variety which seems more suited for laying out lines on wooden floors where you want to be able to peel it off again without leaving any residue behind. They do have a semi-gloss and a gloss version which sound like they would stick better. That said it sticks very well to the self-adhesive board and the uncoated paper and to itself. The tricky bit here is to get the tape aligned right first try. It won’t peel off the board once its down (unless I’ve forgotten to peel the backing off the self-adhesive board, in which case it comes off very easily). This is where regular box board might be better – but you use what you have. The tape is stuck down another 14cm or so below the book to make triangles to bind the corners. A book with just the spine covered in cloth or leather is called “Quarter Bound”. With the corners as well it is called “Half Bound”.

trimming cornersSo once the triangles are stuck on the corners then the brown paper is lined up with the edge of the spine tape to cover the spine tape by 2mm or so. This is where the self-adhesive boards help because you can smooth down the paper straight onto the boards without having to apply glue first. If you have regular box board though you might brush PVA glue over the boards first. Then time to trim the brown paper back from the corners so the red tape shows through. Slip an offcut of cardboard between the red tape and the brown paper and lay the ruler along the place to cut – again about 2mm over the edge of the tape, but its hard to tell so there’s a bit of trial and error here.

boards all coveredThis is how it should look. Well, it should look a little straighter, but it looks a lot neater once the edges are folded in.

Next, turn the whole thing over.

trimming tape cornersNext you trim the corners of the tape. You don’t cut right to the corner of the board, but leave a little distance so the tape can cover the corner. This is another trial and error bit. This also leaves you with four little triangles of cloth tape. If you stick these on the side of the table, someone is sure to come along and find a use for them – or maybe that’s just where you have preschoolers around. They do come in handy for some things. I should have got a photo of my youngest with red triangles on each of his fingers. Hmmm, I wonder where they ended up…

folding cornersYou fold over one edge of the corner then sort of squish in the corner a bit – something like an origami squash fold. Then fold up the other edge and it should look something like what you see in regular cloth-bound books.

Corner doneLike that.

almost thereNow we’re almost there. Fold over the brown paper too and wrap it around the text block – that’s the stack of paper with the cloth stuck to one side.

glueOpen out one side and slap lots of glue around. Glue down the brown paper edges while you’re at it. The inside of the cover should be all gluey to a few mm of the edges. You can slip in a bit of glue to finish gluing the spine cloth to the endpapers. The backing from the self-adhesive sheets comes in handy to slip in the folded endpaper to stop to much moisture and/or glue getting into the text block. In the photo I’m using some rejected A4 sheets folded in half.

ShutShut the book, carefully aligning the cover. Then turn the book over and repeat on the other side.

Stack up the books to dry. A regular book would be put in a book press to get it good and flat and make the little grooves along the side of the spine. I just put them under a stack of books, maybe putting some extra paper in there to help soak up any pesky moisture.

front picturesChoose a picture to mark which side is front. Hardback books are often stamped with their name or some other design. A punch is made good and hot and pressed down onto some special gold foil to leave a gold design impressed into the cover. In the absence of gold foil or hot punches, I’m cutting pictures out of old calendars and magazines. The Christmas pictures were used to make Christmas Cards, but there are lots of other pictures left for applications like this.

Next I glue the pretty picture on the front with regular stick glue and cover with some sort of clear self-adhesive covering – PVC or polypropylene – A generous benefactress gave me a few rolls of each. The PVC is more matt and the polypropylene is clearer. I think the PVC is a little quieter when opening the books, but both are pretty good if covered tightly. Except for a cheap and nasty roll from the junk shop – life’s to short to buy cheap self-adhesive book covering. I’d half like to try out RAECO‘s range of library book coverings, but there’s heaps here to use up first.

You could glue ribbons into the spine to act as bookmarks. They usually go in between the spine cloth and the headbands – which I don’t have. Some missals have removable tags with ribbons attached that are inserted into the spine. Right now I don’t have much ribbon so I’m putting in holy cards as markers.

Here are the finished books.finished Some pages got a little stuck to gether at the edges from stray drops of glue. The PVA really soaks into the paper – not much chance of pages falling out. A blade is handy to separate pages.

Now to enjoy having new hymnbooks! What shall we sing this Sunday?

Book binding

Ah, back to the actual physical side of making books – paper, glue, bits of cloth.
My book binding equipment
Here we have my fancy bindery. The wooden book press came mostly from Hamish MacDonald’s bookbinding blog. It was my biggest woodworking project ever. Then I asked my husband how to do some modifications and he took it and smartened it up a lot.

The other inspirational website was Temper Productions book binding howtos. Although I’m not completely sold on the fan glue technique, his in-depth analysis of what goes on in the spine of a book is great stuff.

His idea is, instead of making the spine stronger and stronger, make it more flexible instead. The strong stitched spine made sense in the days when they used vellum, but thread bites through paper and today we have different glues available. His binding uses PVA glue and some cotton cloth – not loosely woven cheesecloth as some binders use, but more tightly woven.

A hand bound hard back book with flexible spine.Here you can see one of my home binding attempts. It’s my Draft Hymnal. See how the spine bends so the pages can open out flattish? The fan gluing seems to get more glue into the gaps between the pages which tends to tear the pages a little when you go to open it out flat. I think Mr Jermann of Temper Productions was using different paper and glue so that might explain the different results. Mr Macdonald’s technique of using folded 4 page signatures glued together without fanning them out from side to side seems to work better on photocopy paper.

Perfect bound book from LuluIn the picture to the right the spine is rigid. This is a perfect bound paperback from Lulu (another Draft Hymnal). Mr Macdonald’s paperbacks might have a similar look as he finishes the spines with hotglue, similar to POD publishers like Lulu. The hotglue forms a hard spine that joins the case to the spine. The hotglue dries quickly so makes book production much quicker. It is quite strong unless people force the book open flat.

It is amazing how many people apparently oblivious to the structural integrity of the book will try to open it flat. Watch next time. Especially when they are singing something under duress. All that pent up energy seems to go into that little area at the base of the valley of the open page. Watch for the little rips in the cover there and the way the book will open to that page again. Such books need extra protection from a plastic adhesive sort of covering.

A few home bound booksSo after having made a few books, here is the question. Shall I endeavour to make 200 copies of the Draft Hymnal at home? Or shall I outsource this work to a place like SOS Printing and pick up the ready bound books in boxes? Is the celloglazing, offered by the binders, enough protection for the books, or will I need to apply a plastic adhesive covering to each book?

In the meantime, I have a new craft, just in time for making Christmas presents.

The Myth of Hitler’s Pope by Rabbi Dalin


For one thing its not just about Pope Pius XII. It covers the whole attack plus great stuff on the real threat to Jews. Funnily enough there was a cleric in cahoots with the Third Reich and he wasn’t Catholic. It was the Mufti of Jerusalem who was the one to watch.

Rabbi Dalin explains where the whole defamation case came from. It was years after the end of the war, years after the Pope’s death. Before that everyone was saying how great this Pope was until a play came out. A Play. Not a scholarly work looking at evidence but a polemical but successful bit of entertainment that had it in for traditional Christianity.

There’s a chapter on Pope John Paul II and his relationship with the Jews. Mel Gibson even gets a mention for his movie the Passion of the Christ.

Then when I was reading a part about Yasser Arafat my husband says he got a Nobel Peace Prize!

So the overall impression was: how crazy can the world get!

So a good read to get you up to speed with some of the rubbish circulating out there. Not that long, a good chunk of the book is all the footnotes.

My favourite quote was one from Einstein.

Being a lover of freedom, when the [Nazi] revolution came, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but no, the universities were immediately silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. . . .

Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s Campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration for it because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual and moral freedom. I am forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.

From Time, 23 December 1940, 38-40

This was a regular loan from my local library. Get them to order it in if they don’t have it already.


Edith Nesbit

Nesbit is one of my favourite children’s authors. She is also well represented on Project Gutenberg – a huge bonus. Five Children and It has been a fun read-aloud, though the chapters are on the long side. Her book of adventures in Grammar-Land looks excellent, though I have only read the online sample and it doesn’t appear to be on Project Gutenberg.

The reservations with her work really kicked in while reading her book The Story of the Amulet, the sequel to the sequel of Five Children and It. The Amulet goes rather too far in the direction of spiritualism and includes a flash forward in time to a socialist utopia. To cap it off the ending is rather creepy. The Psammead series, as the three books are known, remains a great work, but I’d leave The Story of the Amulet out if reading them aloud to children.

Her entry in the Wikipedia says she was a co-founder of the Fabian society. Her socialist background makes all the more sense with her book The Railway Children where the father is under arrest for something to do with the “beautiful” writing of the Russian gentleman the children find at the station.