Works of Frater Achad



The Book: Charles Stansfield Jones, Frater Achad, is the focus of research for one of my clients right now. In order to enjoy his works in one centralized place that client sent me practically a ream of paper unbound comprising his writings. I was asked to house that ream in a single volume with dividers between the works, marbled end sheets, and enough decoration to do the contents justice.

The Challenges: This was a much greater challenge than I had anticipated. I went through more materials than I had expected, spent way more time than I was comfortable with, and faced challenges that seemed unsurmountable at practically every binding session. But with a zen-like amount of patience from my client I eventually arrived at the tome shown here. The greatest challenge was the size. Not only were the pages a bit longer than our U.S. standard printer paper but the thickness and weight of the thing made working with it very difficult. Once bound the weight of the pages against the spine made the mechanics of the book difficult as well. I used several ways of binding, each of which alone would suffice for an average sized book.

The Finishing: The client and I worked for several weeks getting the design down and the colors chosen only to have me work right through all of them and practically complete the binding incorrectly. After the covers were made I hand dyed the leather with dyes I mixed. My client wanted a Robin’s egg bluish green or at least a turquoise. My first completed binding was more a midnight blue and it took a few days away from it for me to fully realize the error. At that point I chose a new piece of leather and started over. I have never had to do something so drastic before but I have gotten to the point where I ask myself,” if it isn’t right, why chase it?”. What originally had taken me several weeks with the first cover I accomplished in a few days because I had a model to work off of and modify. At that point I was able regain a smile and sense of pride and finally to complete the project.

The Case: For this project the client had requested a thin or no box. I insisted, knowing that the heft of this book would damage leather if it took a spill off a shelf or got knocked, and the client agreed. I thought of leather or leather trimmed but finally (after a very lengthy battle) went with simple and almost scholarly. I think it might be the type of slip case one would see in the mid 1900’s on a scholars book, it is decorative but only to the point of accents. More importantly the case is trim to the book and holds it safe.