Then it's off to the bindery. The hand-crafted cover is fabricated from clad with the highest quality morocco, equatorial chieftain goat leather made from skins collected in India, then shipped to Scotland for a vegetable tannage and traditional dressing.
A second archival tannage applies additives designed to neutralize the long-term effects of air pollutants. It's an extra step, and extra cost, that's necessary for leather products intended to last for centuries.
Next, it's hand-sewn and hand-bound with Irish linen thread, French flocked velvet doublures and flyleaves, rope head caps, and silk-embroidered cane headbands. The accompanying archival presentation box is covered with Dutch linen on the outside, and French flocked velvet within.
The binding process for the 1,000 edition run is taking six master artisans at Felton Bookbinding Ltd., Georgetown, Ontario, nearly two years to complete.
The authors say this is the first book to successfully combine the hollow-back split board and European classic full-leather binding styles. "Traditionally and technically, you'd use one or the other, but you couldn't combine them," Rosemarie says. "We were trying to do something that was diametrically opposed."
The Keoughs wanted the book to be durable, yet elegant. "There was the old split-board type of binding, which was used in accounting ledgers back through the 15th to 16th centuries," she says. "They were tough but not elegant books. Then there was the classic European binding style, with a lovely rounded spine and smooth cover that doesn't have a French groove on it."
The French groove is a hinge that allows a book to open easily. It's a staple feature of nearly every modern hardcover book. The skilled fine hand-binding the Keoughs sought would create a book that opens smoothly without the benefit of a French groove.