Over the past week or more, I've sort of overloaded myself on words. In addition to reading Arithmetic made familiar and easy, I've also been locating and reading what I can about the craft of bookbinding, and trying to relate it back to 1776. Fortunately the art hasn't changed much, so even modern books are useful in learning how to bind books. I've done a few simple bindings in the past, but I'd really like to document the trade for my target time period.
For reading material, I've dug up two books that I had purchased several years ago. The Craft of Bookbinding by Manly Banister, though written in modern times, is a good overview of how to make your own binding equipment, and the process of either repairing or binding books. The second book, Hand Bookbinding: A Manual of Instruction by Aldren A. Watson, published in 1996, is also a modern book, but it illustrates a more traditional look at the tools of the trade. I actually used the Watson book to begin building my own tools a few years ago. Sadly, those tools are now lost. Happily, that means I get to build them again.
Supplementing the above books, I also downloaded from Google Books The Art of Bookbinding: Containing A Description of The Tools, Forwarding, Gilding and Finishing, Stationary Binding, Edge-Colouring, Marbling, Sprinkling, &tc., &tc. by A. Parry, published in London in 1818. While out of my time-period, it's far closer to my target than the first two books. I've only had a chance to skim the contents, but it seems very comprehensive.
To help me document the Colonial period more, I purchased two other books. The first, The Bookbinder in Eighteenth-century Williamsburg: An Account of His Life & Times, & of His Craft, published by Colonial Williamsburg in 1959, is a good overview of a period bookbinder, though the booklet itself runs only 36 pages. The second book is more detailed. Bookbinding in Colonial Virginia, also published by Colonial Williamsburg, details an in-depth study of several binders, their businesses, tools, and examples of their work. The most exciting portion of the book for me, so far, is a transcription of an estate inventory, listing tools, equipment, and supplies of a late eighteenth-century bookbinder. This will be incredibly useful in recreating a bookbinder of that time.
In between reading, and searching, and the usual tasks of working and raising children, I've also started building my bookbinding tools, starting with a simple folding stick. I'll document that process in a later post.