Another Early Trial

2009 April 1

Originally posted 2003 on

I wondered if there would be a good way to put clasps onto a book with pasteboard or Davey board covers.

I found this book, which was made in India, with its pages made of what appears to be a heavy cotton rag paper, and boards of paste board, or something similar to Davey board, in a Barnes and Noble store. Since it saved me the time and effort involved in making a book from scratch, something I had not had that much experience with at the time I started the clasp adventure, it was perfect to use in my experiment in making and attaching clasps to this type of book structure.

Attaching clasps to this sort of book differs from attaching them to wooden boards primarily in that each clasp must have a back plate on the inside which will function as an anchor and support for the rivets in order to keep the clasps from ripping out of the board over time. I made the inner clasp supports to match the exterior designs, since they are exposed in this book. But that is not really necessary, as you could hide them underneath the pastedowns, so any simple shape could be used.

I originally planned to eventually fill this book with clasps on all sides, each illustrating a different type of catch mechanism. ( …in reflection, maybe, maybe not.

Original attempt on book board

Original attempt on book board

Fish clasps and clip clasp.

The little fish clasps shown above is one piece of metal folded in half. The top can be decorated by using metal stamps or by hammering a texture on the surface. This one was attached to a strap made of leather or book cloth lined with Tyvek. Styles like thist clip onto a pin which protrudes from the top board fore edge.

Another very simple clasp, the clip shown bottom left, can also be made using just a few tools. The clip slides over a curved lip extending from the top catch plate. It is also riveted to a strap lined with Tyvek.

Originally I tried using book cloth as strap material, but I discovered that it does not hold up over time. Some of the early straps on this book which I made using book cloth are now beginning to tear. Leather seems to be the best material to use for straps. However, I think fabric might also work if used with a Tyvek or vellum lining to help prevent stretching.

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