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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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Natasha Laurendeau, Brian Quigley and 6 others like this

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

2 days 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.

2 days ago   ·  1

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

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

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No rest for the wicked. Robert and Brittany worked through the weekend, and we're all here on Monday. Long weekend without snow. For the first time in EVER? And we're using it up in the studio. We all missed working so much, I guess? Nope. Just deadlines. And the love of the job.

Consequently, we're looking at the stacks of books we've finished this past couple of weeks, and we're knocking them out of the park -- TONS of jobs done, and crossed off the queue.
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Octavia Book Bindery added 3 new photos.

A custom sketch book. Hand painted, hand dyed calf leather, polished with our bees wax formula. 4x6".
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Octavia Book Bindery added 4 new photos.

Sarah Joy is loving this old copy of The Boy's Own Paper -- a restoration job that's taken several weeks of paper repairs and mending. She's been tackling it between thesis binding and newspaper binding jobs, trying to learn the process so that she can take more of the stress off of old Roberto 🙂
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Octavia Book Bindery added 3 new photos.

Robert put a new cover on an edict from the pope from 1613.
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Everyone is scrambling to be the next in line. I feel like the DMV, where we select your number randomly.

"NOW CALLING, NUMBER...." Everybody stands in anticipation, "fiehunideightytree"

Everyone looks at their tickets, and through sighs of discontent one person fights through the crowd to get through to the front of the line.

"NOW CALLING NUMBER....fiehunidtweny."

Someone yells out, "What the hell kinda order is that???"

The disgruntled looking woman behind the counter asks in her sickeningly sweet lizard voice of authority, "Pleath, thir, you'll need to refrain from accothting the tellerth."

So it is with Octavia's queue. Thesis bindings are our daily priority, I have trained Sarah-Joy to tackle this queue with a gusto, and she's gotten pretty good at them (After a QC Spot Check, she got a 100%).

That's a "hunid perthent."

Robert is getting through the restorations and rebindings as fast as his fingers will take him, staying late most evenings, trying to keep everyone happy, and yet, no one seems to get that these are NOT made in a machine, that they take HOURS to do, and most days he only gets ONE or TWO books finished. If he's lucky.


Again, the crowd swells towards the front, looking at their tickets. "Why am I not at the front !?!"

The not-so-obvious answer is:

Because while the glue dries on the spine of a book that took 4 hours to resew and mend the paper tears on, Robert started in on the leather work that was on another book that also had some special tooling and dying work on, and then there was a big family bible that took hours to take apart that is waiting to be resewn, but because the sewing frame is not a contraption that sets up automatically, new tapes and threads need to be placed where they were on the original book and the threads have to be prepared by pulling them through a block of beeswax.

And all of this is one day of work.

People may not have an appreciation for the fact that in NOVEMBER 2016, Imagine Printing went out of business, leaving ALL of the thesis binding business in Calgary to Robert, who, come JANUARY, after the DECEMBER Christmas rush, was SLAMMED with hundreds of thesis bindings, who then had to hire and train a new apprentice (Work which would normally take two to three years to master) in building thesis bindings from SCRATCH to a HUNID PERTHENT PERFECTION in less than two months......Believe me, even though Sarah-Joy's a brilliant woman, it is no easy task to get that good that fast -- no matter what the movies tell you -- so after spending two months trying to get her up to speed, is now officially nearly 6 months behind on NEW orders -- old orders are getting caught up on -- and everyone wants RUSH service, because birthdays, weddings, and graduations (and sadly, Funerals) -- tie that into the fact that Robert was sick in bed for nearly three weeks (AND STILL SHOWED UP TO WORK NEARLY EVERY EXHAUSTING DAY) and prolonged his recovery by nearly TWO MONTHS (He's still sick, coughing every day), and then everyone else here got sick (Robert was contagious) and then Sarah-Joy got sick again, but PUSHED herself to exhaustion -- the doctors were wondering how she was still standing -- and then Brooke broke her foot (That is, Robert's daughter) which of course would throw any Father into a tizzy ... and ... and ... and ... LIFE HAPPENS, folks.

So, you wonder why the lineup is weird, and the numbers seem out of whack, and Robert L. Angus is constantly asking his clients to remain patient, this is why:

It's not the DMV.
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Octavia Book Bindery shared their post.

this made me very happy to read <3
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One of the most important parts of Robert's day is showing Sarah-Joy how to do cool things. I know some book-binder snobs that would go off about how she's only "Case Binding" or that the things she's learning are "Fundamental" to the craft, but the fact is, it's new to her, she's learning how to do brilliant things, and bugger the Floofy-Pish-Posh-Critics-About-Town. ROBERT IS SO DAMNED PROUD OF HER !!!

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3 hours on the CNC machine, 1 1/2 hours drawing and digitizing. One foiling die. ... See MoreSee Less

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Friday May 12, 2017

Staying in late on a Friday trying to get caught up. It's the way of things, I suppose.

Robert spent the day at the studio in the company of Joanna and David, Sarah-Joy still sick at home, and Brittany out of town until Monday.

No visitors, but loads of thesis calls today.

Robert spent a decent part of the day getting the tools organized, and around this work, foiling the spines of Mr. Harris' thesis bindings. They are finally done, and in the press. They should be ready Monday.

Staying in late, getting the drawings for Mr. Angelo's Rubaiyat cover foil die done. It's a detailed piece, quite beautiful.

Like with most foil dies, it can be traced by hand and then digitized, or scanned and traced with bezier curves in a vector program. There is no short cut to this, as the computer isn't smart enough to do the detailed work that the human hand can do -- at least, my computers aren't. LOL

Robert is waiting for a break in the weather to spray paint the Oroboro sidewalk sign, so that it can be delivered tomorrow to the store. Feel free to drop in when you get a chance, located in the front of Torch Motorcyle Club, at 914 - Centre Street North. 🙂
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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What an extraordinarily busy day !!! Loads of friends hanging out today, and good!!!

Sarah-Joy kept the house running while Robert took off to make a major purchase for the studio -- four new tool cases for the bindery, to help keep us organized and on top of things, so that the tools can more easily be put away at the end of the day, and so we can always find what needs to be found more readily.

Thank you to Home Depot on 16th Ave for giving us a quantity discount -- you guys are awesome 🙂

Thank you also to Joanna, Brittany, Daniel, David and Holly for helping to unpack and put together these tool cases. The studio is a mess, but we've got quite the project underway 🙂
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You pay for quality, or speed -- not both. In a day and age where everyone wants everything RIGHT NOW, and are used to the immediacy of Amazon, quality craftsmanship seems to be a luxury that most people are not willing to wait for. I'm fine with that. We are always willing to RUSH for special occasions, deadlines, and such -- but of course, people pay premium prices for RUSH service.

We do everything by hand here -- this is not a factory book bindery. We do not produce 10,000 books per month, we are lucky if we can get through 100 in a month -- consisting of 20-30 rebinds, 3-4 custom jobs per week, and if we're lucky, 1-2 restorations in and around those. It's a constant state of flux. But our Queue is starting to look a little more under control every day.

But seriously, if you're not willing to wait for quality, better to go buy a book on Amazon.
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Robert spent the day alone in the studio, Sarah-Joy is ill, and needed a doctor's day. Being Thursday, David was not in, and Brittany was out of town. Joanna came to visit for a bit, and kept Robert out of trouble (Mostly).

Robert spent a part of the day working on Mr. Harris' thesis bindings, getting the lettering nearly finished up on the spine of the books. They should be in the press Friday and ready to pick up Monday.

The Vestry books need more work, so Robert is going to tackle those over Friday and the weekend to get them back into the hands of the churches ASAP. Loads of little things have kept us from completing these books, but they are nearly done, just a few more hours of dedicated work to finish them up.

Finally, Robert spent part of the day working on Mr. Angelo's books, one was a particularly old volume from the 1600's, which needs a new presentation cover, and another is a 100 year old copy of the Rubaiyat, which is getting a whole new cover in the original style.

Joanna helped finish up the work on the 4 tool cases, tightening up the bolts on the casters so that we can start organizing the tools around the studio. And thank goodness for that, it will help keep the tools in one place, and in the proper drawers. Finally.
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Octavia Book Bindery added 3 new photos.

One of the most important parts of Robert's day is showing Sarah-Joy how to do cool things. I know some book-binder snobs that would go off about how she's only "Case Binding" or that the things she's learning are "Fundamental" to the craft, but the fact is, it's new to her, she's learning how to do brilliant things, and bugger the Floofy-Pish-Posh-Critics-About-Town. ROBERT IS SO DAMNED PROUD OF HER !!!
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A little history, while I still remember it...

Back in 1985/6 or so, I was in grade 6, living in Cranberry Portage, Manitoba -- a small town surrounded by lakes and forest in the middle of Northern Manitoba. My childhood, filled mainly with fishing, icy winters, and summer camping with family. Although we lived in town, Dad preferred the wilds, hunting and growing wild rice on the lakes, touring the muskeg and pulling apart beaver dams and opening up the rivers so that the lakes were the right depth for the growing season. It was a strange and interesting childhood, and I never really thought that most kids wouldn't have this kind of life growing up. I hated it at the time, all that cold, wet, mosquito infested existence. My favourite thing was to stick my nose in a book and ignore everything, though here I am, thirty years on and missing the quiet of the North. Mom and Dad still live up there, in a cabin on Setting Lake near where I grew up.

But it was the bookishness that I'll remember. Dad was always good to buy me a book, trying my teeth on illustrated (and abridged) children's versions of classics such as Moby Dick and the Count of Monte Cristo. He tried to get me interested in the Hardy Boys, but that didn't catch too deeply, though I still enjoy a good spy novel now and then (I'm collecting non-club first editions of Flemming's 007 novels, after all).

What I wasn't allowed, for some reason, was comic books. I suppose it's a good thing, as it likely would have become a vice as I grew older -- my cousins all had comic books, much to my dismay, and I fear that I'll have to admit to nicking a few when I was younger. I loved to draw, and would often come up with stories that I'd illustrate, and a few characters that I'd make up. It was this that became my first publishing endeavour, back when I was eleven years old -- the comic strips that sparked my creative urge and lit the first light on the path to becoming a publisher. I would draw out the comics, and my friends at school would buy them for 25¢ each. I'll admit, I didn't invest my money, back then, instead using the change to buy my own comic books, priced at around a dollar or so, back then. The teachers would let me use the copy machine to print off a few copies and sell them to my friends -- Super Sock, a comic book character based on my father's stinky sweaty woolen work socks, was all the rage in my grade school. I'd spend my lunch hours furiously drawing away, trying to get the next issue out so that I could afford another comic book, or a chocolate bar -- more contraband.

Many years on, I can see how these little things lead to my eventually becoming a book binder and publisher. Another instance would be my years training to be a jewelry designer, in my early 20's. My friend and mentor Preach (His nickname), a good 20 years my senior, was always the kind of man who would see an opportunity to develop the minds and characters of people he saw in his community who might have an inkling to grow and educate themselves. He lead me to a great many troughs, such that I learned much about world religion, art, and games. But in this one instance, he paid to have me trained as an apprentice silver smith with a local guy who needed some extra income, but who also happened to be a professional jeweler.

Alan, it would turn out, was a bit of a cad and a con artist, but he was a very good jewelry designer, and taught me an awful lot. In retrospect, I can't say that I believe a great many of his stories -- I later found he was quite full of **it on many accounts, but he did teach me how the tools worked, and I'd have to say that, if anything, he was quite skilled, and passed much of that skill on to me, further feeding my creativity and desire to make beautiful objets d'art.


Now, I might be interested in continuing this little bit of reminiscing, which might give a little bit of an insider's view into my mind as a book binder and publisher, but I need to know ahead of time if my efforts will be met with a fair audience or not. So, if you're read this far and feel like you might be interested in reading more, please LIKE this post and COMMENT.
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Kim Wiggins, Carolyne Whitesell Judd and 4 others like this

Neil FortierI'm loving it. 🙂

2 weeks ago

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