Beautiful Boxes Assembly Line Style

Thursday, May 14, 2009

In the lab, we refer to Linda as “the Machine.” As Caitlin and I have occasionally constructed a few blueboard clamshell boxes for items from the African American Museum, Linda has been spitting out cloth covered drop spine boxes. She primarily makes these types of enclosures for Hardin, the Art Library, the Music Library and Special Collections–where the boxes beautify the shelves as well as supporting and sheltering books. Drop spine boxes can be labor intensive, and require careful measuring and construction. Linda manages to produce perfectly snug, incredibly well aligned, no-stray-glue-spots boxes, and all that at an amazing pace.

Linda usually works on ten to fifteen boxes at a time, depending on the size. She measures the books in need, cuts the board, and begins assembly. In the pictures below, you can see some of the drop spine boxes being put together and weighted (the Elmer’s glue bottle we refill with PVA, as its a handy little bottle). Weighting is important as it ensures thorough connection between all the glued up surfaces, and also prevents possible warping. In the bottom left image, a tray of the box is being covered with Hardin Library approved cloth. On the the bottom right, the drop spine is complete–it is open–but must be weighted overnight before becoming acquainted with its proper book.