My favourite tool is not exactly a tool, but rather an everyday object that can be modified to create wooden bookbinding nails.
In my first attempts to create these nails I used wood offcuts, but not only did it take a long time to make them, they also ended up not quite being perfect. Even worse, in some cases when I got the desired shape the nails broke, to my great disappointment.
One day I was given an orchid plant as a present, and seeing the supporting sticks inserted in the soil gave me an idea. These sticks, which are similar to food skewers, are washed during their production process to remove impurities. They are dried quickly at high temperatures so that the wood becomes robust and they do not lose their shape… which is why you never see a skewer curved like a banana!
To make my nails, I simply shape the heads and tips of the sticks and then trim them. They are ideal for anchoring leather and leather tabs.
Featured image courtesy of Luca Ferrari.
Rosy Lamera is a book and paper conservator who works in Burago, in northern Italy. She has been the owner of Ars Libraria since 1998. She has conserved printed books, manuscripts and archival material for several public and private institutions, including The National Braidense Library in Milan, the State Archives of Genoa and the archives of the dioceses of Savona and Ventimiglia, both in Liguria, and Mantua in Lombardy.