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Live Edge Books

The covers for this series of books are all taken from a much loved family tree. Three years ago one of our Pine Trees got knocked down in a lightening storm.

This pine tree was in the ‘background’ of so many family events and figures prominently in many family photos. It was a sad day when we had to take it down. It had grown from three feet tall when we first moved onto this property to over forty feet. A small consolation was a rough cut of the tree that I kept. Fresh cut wood needs to cure one year for every inch of thickness – and so it has sat on my workbench for the past three years. At times the bark wanted to pull away from the wood and I would gently push it back, apply some adhesive and wrap it in a tensor bandage to dry. I wanted to keep that natural edge!

Eventually I had the log cut into two large slabs but was still unsure as to how I would make it into a book. Many ideas came and went over those three years.

In a woodworking class I was told about the process of torrefaction and decided to give it a try. I baked the wood pieces at 350 degrees for four hours and watched as the wood took on a deep golden hue. Besides the aesthetic element of deepening the grain colour, torrefaction also strengthens the wood.

one of the two slabs of torrefied wood (8″ x 11″)

I was really happy with how it turned out. Initially I thought that I would make a large book with hefty covers. However, I eventually decided to cut it down into smaller books – each of which would maintain some of that gorgeous grain and the bark along the natural edge.

It took me a long time to muster the courage to cut one of the slabs into six smaller pieces. I cut out paper models, I drew it out on the wood, erased it and drew it again. I imagined all the possibilities in my mind’s eye … I didn’t want to regret my choice!

I took the plunge and the result is that there will be twelve books from my two slabs – each of which carry on the heritage of our family’s pine tree.

selection of book covers, sanded and sealed with tung oil


black tea stained pages

I wanted the pages to pick up on the unique grain of the wood so I aged them in a tea bath – allowing the tea to bubble around on the surface to create the unique landscapes.

More pages. I love seeing the pages both in order and in chaos.
Some of the pages turned out looking map like.
1/12

All of the books in this series are bound using the two needle coptic stitch. Each one is slightly different depending on what best suits the cut of wood. This one is sewn with angled holes using linen thread that has also been hand dyed.

This one has the addition of coptic end bands.
An inside view.
fanned fore edge


Centre Cut

Available now in my online shop.