My first binding

I’ve been dragging my feet with this for a while, but I finally bound my first book on August 13. The main delay (aside from time spent at work and in my summer class) was actually in choosing the paper. I didn’t want to just buy a ream of printer paper, but a lot of what I was seeing on the sites I bought my other supplies from wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, either. (Despite its clear benefits, I wasn’t really interested in paper whose main quality was being acid-free, lignin-free, and buffered. I wanted something that felt nice, to encourage use.) Finally, earlier this month I bit the bullet and placed an order with the French Paper Company for some Speckletone (both text and card stock), after having worked with Dur-O-Tone in a recent workshop. The very evening that arrived, I bound a pamphlet, which seemed like a great, basic way to get started. It took a few tries to really get the sewing right—it was too loose—so the practice was definitely worthwhile.

The single-section case binding in Bookcraft builds upon the pamphlet binding; the text block is virtually identical, the difference being that endsheets and mull are sewn into the main text block instead of a card stock cover. Then, of course, the case is added. (I picked up colored paper for endsheets, as well as some ribbon, from Paper Source; the book cloth, starched linen in blue, is from Hollander’s.) The instructions also called for five-hole stitching instead of three-hole stitching, but I stuck with three for this one given the small size of my text block (it’s also possible that I wasn’t paying complete attention to the instructions—shh). Otherwise, I followed the structure from Bookcraft pretty closely.

Here I've clipped the boards to the text block to measure the spine gap. If you look carefully, you can see that the text block doesn't have the endsheets or mull sewn in. That's what I get for running on auto-pilot.

Here I’ve clipped the boards to the text block to measure the spine gap. If you look carefully, you can see that the text block doesn’t have the endsheets or mull sewn in. That’s what I get for running on auto-pilot.

So, I cut the sewing and fixed the error. Unfortunately, the instructions didn't specify that two endsheets should be sewn in, rather than one. I should have realized this sooner than I did, but once I did I decided to move forward anyway.

So, I cut the sewing and fixed the error. Unfortunately, the instructions didn’t specify that two endsheets should be sewn in, rather than one. I should have realized this sooner than I did, but once I did I decided to move forward anyway.

Once the text block was settled, I moved onto the case. I cut the boards, measured the spine gap (as above), and then cut the book cloth to size and got ready to glue. I was using straight PVA, so I had to be quick, but it worked out well.

The instructions said to apply the PVA to the book cloth, and then to attach the boards. Instead, I applied the glue to the boards, which seemed both simpler and more logical to me.

The instructions said to apply the PVA to the book cloth, and then to attach the boards. Instead, I applied the glue to the boards, which seemed both simpler and more logical to me.

The finished case, dried and ready to accept the text block.

The finished case, dried and ready to accept the text block.

Once the case was finished, I glued in the text block, using the basic technique I learned in my summer class while recasing a book; the result was that the endsheets were very nearly attached to the boards. I put wax paper between the endsheets and text block while it tried under weight, to help keep the rest of the book dry. I’ll let the pictures (and, of course, their captions) tell the rest of the story.

The finished book. I'm very pleased with how cleanly the endsheet adhered to the boards. Here you can see, though, that because only one endsheet was used, there's no flyleaf—the first loose page is in the text block proper. I'm not thrilled with this construction, as it doesn't seem as robust as it could be (adding the second endsheet wouldn't make this any stronger), but I suspect it was designed this way because it's only a single signature.

The finished book. I’m very pleased with how cleanly the endsheet adhered to the boards. Here you can see, though, that because only one endsheet was used, there’s no flyleaf—the first loose page is in the text block proper. I’m not thrilled with this construction, as it doesn’t seem as robust as it could be (adding the second endsheet wouldn’t make this any stronger), but I suspect it was designed this way because it’s only a single signature.

A close-up of the book, closed. I added a ribbon bookmark, as optionally suggested by the instructions. It's a nice touch, even if this is a small book.

A close-up of the book, closed. I added a ribbon bookmark, as optionally suggested by the instructions. It’s a nice touch, even if this is a small book.

Another view of the finished book.

Another view of the finished book.

The aforementioned pamphlet, which is a folio, and the book, which is also technically a folio, but is in quarto-like dimensions because I started with half sheets. In other words, the pamphlet is roughly twice the size of the book.

The aforementioned pamphlet, which is a folio, and the book, which is also technically a folio, but is in quarto-like dimensions because I started with half sheets. In other words, the pamphlet is roughly twice the size of the book.

One last photo, to show off the paper. It's really beautiful stuff.

One last photo, to show off the paper. It’s really beautiful stuff.

And that’s it! I’m not sure if my next project is going to be another (slightly modified) version of this or if I’m going to move directly onto a multi-section cased-in binding, but I’ll definitely keep writing about future projects. I have to say, binding this book was the most fun I’ve had in a while.

Comments

  • This book is beautiful in its simplicity. Great job!

    Marissa K. MasonAugust 20, 2011

Leave a Reply