How Gallery is Made

Gallery comes from the print shop as a stack of unbound copies seperated with sheets of colored paper. Normally, the covers are collated in with the copies, but in this case, they were printed seperately, so I had to put them in by hand.

Looking down the workbench, right to left, we see the stack of covers, a 55 lb anvil, a Coke, the stapling jig, the tape dispenser, the "Magic Tape Ball", the taping jig, and the box where the finished copies go. All of these things are essential, especially the Coke.

Okay, the anvil isn't necessary, but it's frigging 55 lbs. Do you wanna risk dropping that sucker on your foot?

Strip off the seperators, add in the covers, wonder how much smaller I could have made some of the images and still gotten the point across.

The Stapling Jig Mark 3 consists of three Stanley heavy duty staplers removed from their bases, and mounted on this board. I explain why below. To get the books to lay completely flat, they must be held flat between the two boards when stapled. The base has two fences to align the book with the staplers, and the lid has two opposite fences to press the edges of the paper into place when I slam it together.

The lid is slightly undersized so that all the pressure is on the edges of the book. This gives me a nice, neat edge and a book without any curves built into it.

Pressing the lid down firmly, and up towards the other fence, I press each stapler in sequence. Normally this takes both hands, but I'm holding the camera.

The base has holes drilled where the staples come through. I discovered that the anvils on the base of the staplers were the cause of most of my broken and bent staple problems. This has almost completely eliminated that. Since I had to crimp the staples flat anyway, this didn't cost me anything effort wise, and saved me from pulling out all the bent staples.

I use my slighly modified Vice Grip #7R pliers to knock over the staples and crimp them flat on the book. The normal rounded over profile of a regular staple would cut through the tape binding, and make things hard to stack. A lot of other 'zines could really benefit from this step, even if all they do is whack the staples with a hammer to flatten them out. This is one thing that Anvil is useful for.

As an aside. Here is that pair of Vice Grips. What makes them particularly suited for the job is the FLAT end of the grip. I modifed them by drilling a hole in the handle (not easy) and threading in a screw to keep them from latching, and by adding a lock nut to keep my adjustment.

Note the number 7R on the jaw. THESE are the pair you want, nothing else in the line will do.

The taping jig and the measuring board screwed to the bottom of the tape dispenser are the newest additions to my setup. The tape, by the way, is Scotch #217 Black Crepe Masking tape. I buy it by the case, 36 rolls for $300+, and I use 3 or 4 rolls with every issue. Measuring it with reasonable precision becomes a matter of economy.

Behind the stapler you can see the "Crock Stick" ceramic sharpener I use on the straight razors in the foreground.

The book is placed in the jig, and the ends of the side fences locate the tape exactly 1/2" in from the edge. There may be a Mark 2 of this with adjustable depth in the future. Since I tape from both sides, sometimes it helps to fudge a little to keep the seam from being on the corner.

It may look dumb to devote this many pictures to this step, but it is critical if you want a good job. I used to just flip the book over, and, keeping the book curled on the vertical axis to prevent the spine from bending, flip it over holding the tape firmly against the table to fold the tape over the edge. If there's ANY curve in the spine, the tape won't fold straight, and it'll wrinkle like 4th of July bunting.

Using the jig and this stick, I can press the tape down (Normally two-handed) and fold it evenly.

The next most critical step is to press the tape down FIRMLY! I really wear my fingerprints off doing this.

Once I've made sure the adhesive has grabbed, I can use the stick again to make sure the last 1/16" of tape is folded around the front.

Again, Press that tape down HARD!

Dirty little secret. Aside from looking good, the design of the title box on the cover is a visual guide for the tape. Unfortunately the cover was slightly over-reduced on this issue, so the distance to the edge wasn't exactly 1/2", but it was manageable.

Anyway, fold and press down exactly as before. Using two pieces of tape gives you total flexibity on the thickness of the book, a sort of infinitely variable width on the tape.

A cheap Pakistani straight razor, sharpened beyond belief is an even better tool than an X-Acto knife for trimming off the excess tape. The secret of success though is to take three strokes, pulling or pushing the blade towards the book as you cut. It's not easy to show this off and take a picture, since it's a two-handed operation, but I hope you get the idea.

A number of years ago, I started sticking all the cut bits of tape into a pile, which then became a ball which is currently cantelope-sized. That puppy there is all solid tape.

The finished book is boxed. I find sticking every 5th one in backwards makes them easier to count. I can generally bind one book in less than two minutes. One minute if I'm really cooking. Sounds fast, but multiply that by 320 copies in this edition, and it can take up several evenings.

Two leftover pictures, showing the modifications to the Vice Grips. I had to cover the head of the screw with tape so I wouldn't cut myself on the slot.

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