Vigil Books

I’ve recently been asked to craft several vigil books. A “vigil book” is like a guest book that people sign and/or write little inspirational tidbits in on the occasion of a SCAdian’s elevation to a peerage.

The process for these is pretty simple:

1. Acquire some paper for the pages. I like heavier weight paper. Cut and fold these into little booklets (called “folios”). I like mine to have ten pages, so I use five sheets of paper.

2. Cut some leather for the cover. I like my covers to be a bit oversized, so I cut them to be an inch larger than the folios. This gives me a half-inch overhang all around.

3. Decorate the leather. For a vigil book, I generally tool and paint the person’s heraldry on it – but there are other things requested, as you’ll see…

4. Finish the leather. I burnish the edges with beeswax (for smooth hard edges), buff the front with neatsfoot oil (restores the suppleness of the leather after using harsh alcohol dyes), brush on Tan-Cote sealer on the front (gives a hard, smooth finish), and rub Sno-Seal into the flesh side (the Sno-Seal prevents the leather from rubbing dye off onto the pages).

5. Punch holes in the folios, then punch matching holes in the leather. I use a tiny drive punch, many use an awl.

6. Sew in the folios. I use a heavy waxed thread for this, and a saddle stitch.

Vigil Book for THL Sir Beatrix Krieger, KSCA



Vigil Book for Mistress Jaqueline De Molieres, OL


And then, there’s this. The Vigil Book for THL Thorsol Solinauga, who will be knighted this Saturday at Harvest Raids. Lord Thorsol, or THE THORSOL, as he is occasionally referred to as, is a stalwart Bon Jovi fan and a lover of all things cephalopod. He also has never registered arms, so it’s not obvious what to put on his book. Fortunately, he’s given me a hint:


After verifying this is, in fact, the direction he wanted, I set to work:




No, I don’t know either, but it makes him happy, so I’ll just roll with it.

No documentation. While bookbinding is an ancient art, it’s not something I’ve researched at all yet. I’m just making books.

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