Live News and Updates

Octavia Book Bindery    1040 – 8th Ave SW    (587) 700 – 6575

Wow, folks, sorry that I haven't been keeping the blog up and running this past couple of weeks. Robert's been sick (again) -- killer flu seems to be knocking his socks off every so often, which means he's not kicking around to write the blog, or staying at the studio later to get things done.

Robert's been spending what time that he can getting through the queue, tackling one book at a time. He's gotten a ton of bibles finished and off the list, and a couple of old dictionaries. Some of his time has been on getting some half completed jobs finished, as well as a big old family bible (FINALLY!!!) -- it looks absolutely amazing. Photos need to be taken.

Robert has also gotten a 44 minute long video edited for one of our publishing clients, Verna Souvard.

Sarah Joy has finally gotten through ALL of the newspaper bindings, so tomorrow we'll be calling the publishers up to send those invoices out. There are STACKS and STACKS of newspapers that need to be packaged and shipped. Exciting stuff -- we're talking a two year back log is finally out of the way.

Joanna has left the province to go on her travels. Robert is setting up her travel blog right now, and she will be posting about her adventures at Www.VintageGirlTravels.Ca as soon as he can get it up and running. Keep an eye open for it. There will be giveaways and such, so be sure to sign up for them over at her site as soon as Robert's got it going.

Brit has been building loads of punk leather product for her upcoming fairs and shows -- wallets, collars, and great little journals. We'll post some pictures this upcoming month.

Because Robert has been ill, he is still behind on orders, but he's feeling confident that the studio will be caught up sooner than later. Things are looking GREAT !! Thank you for your patience, if you've been waiting a while.
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"Book Donations, Mold, Foxing, Red Rot, and The Cost of Book Restoration"
Article Submitted to the Danish Canadian Museum Newsletter, Dickson, AB.
By Robert L. Angus, Octavia Book Bindery, Calgary, AB.
June 2017.

It’s been a family treasure for decades, passed down from your grandparents to you, and finally, it seems like no one else will appreciate this heirloom as much as your local museum or library. What better way to preserve your families legacy than to give it to those who would remember you, maybe they’ll put a sticker in the front that says, “Kindly donated by the ________ family”.

What doesn’t get taken into consideration, more often than not, is that the books are often in various states of disrepair. As a book binder, I see all sorts of antique books in sad states of condition. Perhaps they have been chewed on by bugs, mice, or the family dog. Perhaps they have been stored in a damp basement or have suffered a flood and have mold or mildew stains. Perhaps the leather has begun to disintegrate and turn into a fine dust – a problem called “Red Rot”, and “Foxing” on the paper, often caused by a fungi colony which turns spots on the paper a rusty red.

Yeasts, Molds, and Mildews are everywhere as a natural part of any environment, but when it comes to books, they are the enemy. Books brought to our book bindery with mold damage require careful handling -- gloves, respiration masks, chemical baths -- and there is no guarantee that we have completely neutralized the spores once we have tackled the issues one page at a time.

These kinds of repairs can be incredibly expensive, taking up to an hour each page (or more if there are paper tears which need to be mended), at a cost of between $85-100/hour, you can imagine that these repairs can take months, or even years to manage, at an extraordinary cost. In most cases, simply not worth the price for a book which may only be worth a few dollars.

Most museums do not have much of an operating budget, and expecting them to store such damaged books which may require hundreds of dollars in repairs, is unreasonable. Should any book require repairs or restoration, we at Octavia Book Bindery would certainly be pleased to ensure that your books are in their best presentable condition before they are to be donated. Most antique books can be shipped to us carefully wrapped in plastic and bubble wrap. Feel free to call us to arrange an appointment at (587) 700 – 6575, or by email at OctaviaPress@Hotmail.Com.
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"I wish to say thank you again to Robert for his kindness and generosity shown to my 4 year old granddaughter yesterday. She loves books in general, always pretending she can read and she does make up her own narratives with a book in hand and now she loves the special book given to her and she just had to tell her parents about her experience in your store." -- Len Mar. ... See MoreSee Less

Octavia Book Bindery added a new photo. ... See MoreSee Less

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Sorry, folks, we were having a little bit of an issue with the website this morning. I'm sorry if we missed you at any point. Doesn't happen often, but for some reason the permissions on our website were reset and, after three hours of trouble shooting, had to get the technicians involved. They fixed the problems in less than 10 minutes. Just goes to show, sometimes having a great team is of the utmost importance. 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less

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David from Sigla Books looking epic while hanging out in the book bindery. (Doobie Brothers playing in the background). ... See MoreSee Less

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It takes a light touch to make a finely bound book here at Octavia. Takes a couple of hours just to prep the leather, before even dying it. Thin down those turnovers to paper thickness.

One wonders how anyone can offer leather bindings for $80 ..... it's because they're using predyed urethane coated upholstery leather made for couches and shoes. Not fine binding at all.
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Ligia Camillo, Iris de Leeuw and 18 others like this

Wayne EssarFine binding is not always what the client wants.

3 weeks ago

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Hazel Margaret de VereGood name choice ; my eldest is also Octavia

3 weeks ago   ·  1
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Luke CantyI've never seen that done with a craft knife before!

3 weeks ago

1 Reply

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Pansy AngevineThat's amazing!

3 weeks ago
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"The trade of Bookbinder has been ranked among the most difficult of the arts. It is incontestably one requiring much care, great neatness, correct taste, and attentive practice, to form a skilful workman and without these requisites no one will ever attain the three great characteristics of good binding: solidity, elasticity and elegance.” -- John Hannett, Bibliopegia, 1835.

PS: This bookbinder's ticket, specially created for Octavia Book Bindery's retail products offered in retail stores across the province, is actually pasted into the back cover of each book; it measures less than 1/2 of an inch square.
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Octavia Book Bindery added 2 new photos.

Two Bible clasps for a client's 150 year old book, designed, carved, and patinaed from scratch. Price was $450 for the pair, from scratch. Robert was a jewelry designer before he was a bookbinder. The skills still come in handy.
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Octavia Book Bindery added 3 new photos.

It's all about the leather. These are some of our most recent books. Ahhhh......the simple pleasures in life -- the simple TREASURES in life.

The leather is dyed by hand. Bound by hand. Shaped by hand. Tooled by hand. It's all done by hand. It's a craft, and an art. You can't do this on a machine. You can't take a shortcut on quality. 🙂
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Octavia Book Bindery added 9 new photos.

This prop, originally made for Wynonna Earp television series, filmed here in Alberta. During the scene that this book was made famous (Ha Ha ! You could hardly see it at all) actress Dominique Provost-Chalkley playing Waverly Earp is kicking butt and taking names. This was such an awesome book, too bad that it didn't get any real time on screen.
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Marbled paper much? Of Course !!! Only the best, we buy direct from our friend Robert Wu in Toronto. ... See MoreSee Less

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Cheap means it's garbage.

I'm sorry, you know this already. I shouldn't have to tell you this. We all know that the things you buy for cheap are not quality.

It's the way of the world. We all want a lower price, but at the end of the day, it comes down to what kinds of shortcuts you are willing to take.

I know that it's sometimes hard to tell the difference if you've never spent the money on something that was made to last forever. Not everyone has had the opportunity to buy something that was made by hand. Not everyone knows that something cheap will fall apart on you, or will fail at the worst possible moment. From toys to suits to cars to books, it's the same thing. Quality is important.

I'm not here to lecture you on what the difference is. But it really pains me to see that there is a new guy on the block offering up garbage product and trying to undercut us at 1/3 the price.

Machine made garbage. You know it. I know it. We've seen it before, we'll see it again. Quality speaks for itself. Quality cannot be produced cheaply.

Anyone can try to undercut their competitor on price, and the shortcuts are obvious, but QUALITY will ALWAYS rise to the top. There is no comparison.

OCTAVIA MEANS QUALITY.
That's why we guarantee our work.
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You get exactly what you pay for:
Cheaply priced means cheaply made.

Our books are made by hand, right here in our studio. We do not take short cuts. All books are sewn by hand, bound by hand, lead foiling type is set by hand, leather is dyed here in the studio by us -- heck, we are the only FINE book binders between Toronto and Vancouver. It's a big deal.

Even thesis binding is done BY HAND. There are no shortcuts taken. Your books are made to last a lifetime. Or longer.

Cheap means machine made junk.

OCTAVIA MEANS QUALITY.
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May 26, 2017

Another week has come and gone at the studio, and tons of work has been done. I almost feel like we're getting caught up.

Brittney has been in all week, building leather goods for sale at conventions and artists collectives. I'm really quite proud of her, she's learning a lot, and making tons of really cool merch.

Sarah-Joy has been getting the newspaper bindings ready for shipping, and they are very nearly completed. I anticipate that we'll have them all out the door by the end of the month. She's been keeping on top of the thesis bindings, and they are all looking fantastic. Tons of great clients, and they're getting the best bindings possible.

Robert has been getting through these stacks of bible rebindings and restorations, and he's gotten two big publishing jobs completed and out the door this week. Just one more to go, and he'll be able to make a big dent in the queue. He spent two days this week working on the Vestry books, and the leather on these 100 year old books are nearly finished, only two more dye jobs to go and they're ready for the press. (He plans to get them done this weekend).

So, it's been a great week, folks. Thank you to our friends at the University of Calgary for their love and support. We couldn't have done it without you. We've been operating in Calgary since 1926 (First as Calgary Book Bindery) and we're looking forwards to serving you for a good long time.
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You get exactly what you pay for:

Cheaply priced means cheaply made.

Our books are made by hand, right here in our studio. We do not take short cuts. All books are sewn by hand, bound by hand, lead foiling type is set by hand, leather is dyed here in the studio by us -- heck, we are the only FINE book binders between Toronto and Vancouver. It's a big deal.

Even thesis binding is done BY HAND. There are no shortcuts taken. Your books are made to last a lifetime. Or longer.

Cheap means machine made junk.

OCTAVIA MEANS QUALITY.
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May 24, 2017 -- Mid Day

Robert is a bit of an idiot sometimes. Not slow, exactly, but forgetful.

Our client Mr. Kells required us to rush his book up to the Yukon today, which meant a road trip to the airport. After making sure the book was done and in the press last night, we got up early and stopped off at the shop to pick it up. Checking Google Maps to get up to the airport office, and a bit of a detour to grab a cup of coffee on the way, we finally found the office and ....

Forgot the book at the Studio.

So, two trips to the airport later, it's on it's way, and we're three hours behind schedule today.

And so it goes...
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Octavia Book Bindery added 6 new photos.

Getting organised.
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Robert Wu, Natasha Laurendeau and 7 others like this

Bradford W. BebbWow. I wish I was there to see this. Looks incredible. Good work

1 month ago
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May 23, 2017.
It's one of those days. Gorgeous out. Sunny days with a warm breeze blowing through the studio.
Sarah-Joy got industrious today, tackling a few small projects. She started by hanging the leather on the pin board walls above our new tool chests, making it easier to see what we have in stock, as well as allowing us to sort through all of our rubbermaid containers full of leather. TONS of leather. I guess I never throw anything away, and when I go leather shopping, I really go leather shopping. She then got into making a framed collage of old bible covers and the spines of old books that have been kicking around the studio for YEARS. They look pretty awesome. I'll upload an image right after this post. It's really neat. Finally, she got on the newspaper bindings, which are nearly finished, only a few more to go and we can mail them all off.
Robert spent the entire day working on a rush order wedding photo album for our client Kells. Robert's working late to get this one done -- it took nearly three hours to scan the images, and nearly two hours of fighting with the printer to get them printed out. It's already 6:00 PM, with no end in sight, yet. Printing is done, just need to bind the book itself. Also, he got the "Ball's Life" project edited, printed, bound, and in the press in time to be picked up for the end of the day -- again, a project he stayed in much of Saturday to finish up.
So many jobs have made it off of the table this past couple of weeks, and I'm surprised at how quickly the queue board is starting to look more manageable. We'll update that at the end of the month. But we're looking a lot less behind than we were at the beginning of May. It's a good feeling.
Robert has been feeling VERY lethargic at home. He lives alone and doesn't like being sedentary, but also can't justify going out and socializing because of the costs involved. Better to hang out in the studio where he feels like he's got a sense of purpose. So, that said, Robert is going to be spending the evenings at the studio, getting caught up, reorganizing, and if we get a nice bite taken out of the outstanding orders, then making a few dream projects.
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Rea Vanlie and Matt Riley like this

Bradford W. BebbLooks like an amazing place to hang out.

1 month ago   ·  1
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