Sinful Earthworms and Wavering Hearts…

The top and some rose designs beside it.

The top and some rose designs beside it.

It’s almost time to cut the rose in the soundboard. Before the back of the rose is reinforced. I use some old, 18th century paper for this. It’s from two books I found at the local flea market…

Please note that I am absolutely opposed to the demolition of books. But some books are just old paper. These two examples are religious texts, one by a Calvinist minister, titled “Reasonable Religion” (with such a title you can be sure it is everything but reasonable), the other a handbook of Catholic teaching. I checked and there are other copies available in our university libraries, and both books are in quite a sorry state.

But one thing that still does surprise me every time is the language used to condemn people. As you know an old Christian tradition… One of the books called Baruch de Spinoza an “unwholesome Jew”, when I read that I was convinced that there was no loss in cutting it up and using it for better purposes…

Sinful earthworms

While gluing I tend to read the pieces on the back of the paper. This one was speaking of “zondige aardwormen” (sinful earthworms) and “twijfelmoedige harten” (wavering hearts). Where do you find terms like these nowadays? In fact it’s a great inspiration for new, colorful invectives… At least you have something original your opponent never heard before…

The rose, my own simplified version of the original Gerle model. With some inspiration after Hoffmann...

The rose, my own simplified version of the original Gerle model. With some inspiration after Hoffmann… I made a little mistake while drawing this rose. Wonder who will spot it first…

But all kidding aside, there is a good reason why I choose this old paper. Modern paper is made by machines most often from wood fibers. This paper has a short fiber and grain direction. It’s not very strong. The old paper was made by hand from cloth rags. This gives a longer, scattered fiber which results in stronger paper. We find it often in lutes and baroque guitars, to reinforce glue joints and back up rosettes.

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