Friday, 30 March 2012

7. Lining

In this post we are going to deal with the final few stages that need to be completed before work on the Leather begins.
All these stages involve Lining.
Before we do anything, we need to protect the book block. From now on we won’t need to open the book, so to keep the pages clean and keep the gilt edge from harm we have to Cap the book.
For this I use a 120gsm Archival Kraft paper. It needs to fit snugly around the block, so you need to measure all its dimensions, height, width and depth.

Once the Net has been drawn out onto the paper join the depth dimension with a diagonal line. Then cut it out and crease along all the lines with a bone folder.

Turn the flat cap over and crease the triangles that will form the corners in half.  

Now form the cap off of the book to firm up the creases and form the corners. The excess triangular corner pieces on the inside need to fit into the hollow area created by the concave fore-edge.

When you’re happy with it, cap up the book block and tape it down.

Once capped up we are now ready to line the spine. The idea is to strengthen and protect the spine edge of the sections, whilst still allowing the spine to open freely.
Each piece of lining material is slightly larger than the preceding layer, with the final lining measuring from centre to centre of the endpapers. Also all material used needs to have its grain running from head to tail as usual.
The first lining is to even out the spines profile. We need to build up the areas between the tapes, for this I use starched muslin glued on with PVA.

For the next layer I use a quality heavy, yet supple hand made paper longer at head and tail. I have used 190gsm Bockingford.

To even out the gaps between the tapes still further, I apply fillers made from 120gsm Archival Kraft. Then finally a layer of Manila Kraft paper.

Using a good strong pair of scissors, you need to trim the lining close to headbands. This can be quite scary so take your time. Cut in a well-lit area, keep the scissors steady and roll the book from the beginning of the cut to the end. Again, take your time; you don’t want to nick the headbands! 

We are now going to apply a Hollow Back to the spine. This in effect is a tube of kraft paper or light card that is stuck to the spine and in turn to the leather. Towards the end of the binding process it will be slightly slit to accommodate the leather turn in. 
For this I’ll be using Belmont Hollow, a 225gsm card ideal for the purpose although I have used the same 120gsm Archival Kraft mentioned earlier. Both are fine.
Take a piece of scrap paper and measure the width of the spine between the coloured portions of the endpapers. Now measure out three widths of the spine on a piece of Belmont and cut the whole longer than the spine. Now crease and fold and check for fit.

Now glue out one edge and so that you have a tube with one thickness of card on one side and a double thickness on the other.  

The single thickness will be glued to the book and the double will be stuck to the leather. This is known as one on and two off.
It’s a good idea to glue the hollow to the book quite soon after it has been made as it will be more pliable now as opposed to when it is dry. You will need to keep working the hollow until it is well stuck. 

Now trim the hollow in the same manner as the lining.

Before we put a final lining on the cover boards we need to set the slips.
At the moment the tapes are standing proud from the boards. Place the boards in their final position and mark the profile of each tape.
Now open the book back on its self and with a sharp scalpel cut the marked sections out to the depth of the tapes. Brush a little PVA into the recesses, close the book and smooth down the tapes.  

Finally you need to line the boards. I’ve used 300gsm Somerset Satin, a heavy paper but with a smooth surface that will give the leather a good foundation.
Cut the paper larger at head, tail and fore-edge. Paste and apply right on the spine edge of the board. Smooth off and gently crease around the edge. Do the same on the back board and press until dry. 

When dry remove the excess board lining paper by sanding with a fine wet and dry paper. Do not be tempted to trim it off with a scalpel or craft knife. You will cut the headband; trust me it happens!

Sanding the edges gives you a clean edge and a softer profile for the leather.
In the next edition I’ll show you how to measure up and pare the leather. Until then leave the prepared book between pressing boards.


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Liebster Blog

Evening folks, my gorgeous chum Caroline at Pink Parakeet has very kindly awarded the Liebster Blog to my humble little Bindery page! 

If you're as clueless as to what the Liebster Blog is as I am, it's an award given to blogs with less than 200 followers that you love and bring a little joy to your day. Once awarded the Liebster you then in turn have to award it to five blogs that inspire you.

Being quite new to this blogging lark, choosing five has been tough. So I've picked five that either have informed my practice, or have simply made me happy. Please take five minutes and have a look at them on your next coffee/tea break.

I hope you like them and stay tuned for my next instalment, which should be ready by the end of the week.

Friday, 9 March 2012

6. Hand Sewn Headbands

The function of a Headband traditionally was to protect the top edge of the spine, or Head-cap, from damage when being pulled from a bookshelf. It’s primary function now is to embellish the head-cap and make the book look pretty.
There are many forms of headband and if you are interested in their use then I recommend buying Headbands How to Work Them by Jane Greenfield and Jenny Hille from Oak Knoll.
If you are going to make a habit of using them, I recommend learning maybe a couple of styles. I personally find them quite a chore, but the finished effect is lovely.
The Headband we are going to do here is the simplest of the styles I use, and will be applied to both the head and tail.
I’ll be using two colours of Silk thread, grey and teal. It’s a slightly heavier gauge of thread than that found in most haberdasheries, although the finer gauge is useful for other styles.
We will be forming the Headband around a core. This core can be made of many different materials. It needs to be flexible as it will follow the curve of the spine and be subjected to being opened and closed frequently. I’ve made my core from a laminate of a black handmade paper and thin leather. The leather will be on the outside as it needs to bend further.
Normally I do my headbands whilst sitting comfortably, using my knees to grip the book. As my good friend Sarah Mitchell ( says, ‘the press you carry with you’. For the purpose of this post I’ll use a finishing press. 

We will be tying down the headband at the centre of each section just below the kettle-stitches so we need to mark each centre for ease of identification.

Take both colours of thread and knot them together, then fray the end to soften it. I’m going to start with the grey thread; this will be the thread that will be used to tie the headband down, and will be the only thread requiring a needle.

Our first stitch needs to go through the centre of the first section, not the endpaper, below the kettle-stitch. Pull the knot into the fold, then loop over the head of the book and re-enter the same hole. As you pull tight, position the core so it’s trapped by the first stitch.

When the core is firmly anchored take the second thread, in this case the teal thread, and pass it under the core around the first stitch. 

Next the grey thread is brought back over the core and the teal thread is brought across and under the core to trap it. 

Now loop the teal thread completely around the core once.

Bring the teal thread over again and then trap it with the grey thread.

The same grey thread is then brought over the core and passed down into the centre of a section and tied down. Pull tight, bring it up over the core and trap it with the teal thread.

 You now continue in this fashion until you get to the last proper section. 

For the final stitch the grey is tied down in the normal way and the teal is brought around the end of the core.  

Both threads are then tied together in a simple over hand knot at the hole where the grey thread exits. 

Finally when you are happy with the completed headband carefully cut the excess core at the ends with a sharp scalpel and apply some PVA to the tie down threads on the spine and the job is done.
Our next job is to line the spine.