Ok, it's that time again! Sufficient orders have been placed to proceed on a new production of the Colonial American Hornbook, part of a series that I initiated back in 1992 at Heirloom Press, Palm Harbor, Florida. As with each production, or should I say, 'Edition', because these are books, the very first Public School Books on our shores - this one is unique. Prior editions used various types of Pine, which would have been one of the woods available to the Printer of Massachusetts Bay and Providence Plantation of 1700. But hardwoods were certainly available, too. This Edition is Hardwood, stock Poplar. Nails are cut copper. Also, we are going one step closer to the original decoupage process: Shellac. This makes things a bit slower. Shellac goes on in much thinner layers, and build-up will probably result in more layering, with steel wooling between each layer. The 'up' side is an interesting and attractive patina. The downside: more time with steel wool, circle-scrubbing each layer, front and back.
What is remaining the same is the printed face piece, and the cherry stain. Poplar does not drink in the stain like pine, it rests more on the surface. This offers the opportunity to 'age' a book by sanding the extreme edges of the wood to bring the lighter wood behind to somewhat show through the stain, creating a time-worn look. This is a new thing for me, but I like the variety this creates!
The production run on this edition is a bit smaller because the wood available comes in shorter lengths and is more expensive. In the above photo, three books are drying while the upright one is mounted on it's jig awaiting the next coating of shellac to be brushed on.
That's it for now. If you wish to know more about the Colonial American Hornbook, America's very first public school "Textbook", you will find a link to my Hornbook FAQs in the links section to the right, and more photos.
Just a reminder: these books are $15.00 each, plus $5.00 postage. If you would like one, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org . I also usually give notice of upcoming releases on the Letpress List, the Florida Letterpress Yahoo Group, and, of course, here on the blog. Please allow 2-3 weeks to receive your Hornbook, in that this is about how long it takes to make them and permit the decoupage layers to cure.
Good Providence in all your endeavors!