Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Another Adventure in Not Quite DIY: Saving a Tune Book

Front cover
Yes, it's grubby...but alive!

When I started playing at the Wednesday night Irish session, I picked up a copy of their tune book. We don't tend to play from sheet music during the session, but (along with plenty of listening) it's a good resource for learning the local version of the tunes, or for remembering how something starts.

The only trouble is that the books are inexpensively bound, with plain cardstock covers and plastic comb binding. After over a year of dragging it around with me, the cardstock was getting grimy and tattered, and the plastic comb had cracked in places. I knew if things kept going this way, sooner or later it would completely fall apart. So, based on my good experience with my not quite DIY notebooks, I took action.

Inside angle

I took it to the local Office Depot and had them trim off the comb binding. I could have just had them put on a new unbroken comb binding, but in my experience with other music books, spiral bindings work much better. Comb bindings just aren't as amenable to rough usage, tossed into overstuffed music bags or cases. In addition, the pages don't turn as smoothly and you can't easily fold a book back on itself. So spiral it was.


 I'd also planned to have them add a clear outer cover to augment the cardstock covers, but the gal who I worked with suggested we try laminating the existing covers instead, and that worked out well. It's hard to tell from the photos, but it's sturdy plastic laminate, similar to the sort used (or which used to be used) for things like drivers licenses and student IDs. It should last through a good amount of hard treatment.

It's not perfect: in trimming to remove the comb, everything is left a little off center. And of course, the lamination preserved the griminess of the original covers for all time. (To my amusement, it also captured some pencil scribbled reminders I'd meant to erase later...oops!)  This would not be at all the way to preserve or restore something precious. But my book is easier to use now, and the new lamination and binding will vastly extend its life. I'm happy with that.

Binding close-up
Total cost: about seven dollars. Cheaper than a new book, in any case. I really wish I'd taken a few "before" pictures, but it didn't occur to me!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

White Before Memorial Day: Pentel Hi-Polymer Eraser Caps

Awhile back I mentioned about how much I like Pentel's Hi-Polymer erasers. They do a great job, and they're relatively cheap and available. In a discussion that followed another blog post, an anonymous commenter mentioned seeing a pencil top version at WinCo, a discount grocery chain here in the Pacific Northwest. The other day I found myself in that part of town, so I popped in briefly to stock up on some pantry supplies and had to at least glance at the stationery supplies. Sure enough, there they were!

Hi-Polymer Eraser Caps

I don't think they're quite the same material as the blocks: they seem firmer and a little more crumbly.  Still, they do a much better job of erasing than your average pencil topper.  I keep a lot of full sized eraser blocks around, but there are times when it's nice to have one right at hand.  I added one to the Ticonderoga currently living on my music stand.  They're a bit odd looking...remind me of clunky looking nurse shoes.  But they do the trick right well!

Ticonderoga booted up

Now if the fashion police will just leave the little guy alone...