Beginning Bookbinding

Ever since I read The Name of the Rose back in my early college days, I have been fascinated by the art of making books, especially handmade books.  The idea of making a painstaking copy of the text, in full calligraphy, through the careful illuminations and on to the final made-to-last binding hit the romantic streak in me.  I played around with calligraphy for a bit, and I still dabble in it from time to time.  I have kept a journal with pen and ink off and on.

Anyway, I mentioned that I wanted to learn bookbinding one day while with some friends and one of them pointed me to Hollander’s.  After some hemming and hawing about what to order from them, I finally bought this kit.  Last night, I started work on the kit.  And finished, too.  I didn’t expect to finish it all in one night, but here’s what I got.

This is showing that when I built the textblock, I didn’t just glue it.  This is a sewn spine, reinforced with glue and a super (a sort of mesh glued into the back of the spine as a support).

Here you can see the tops of the signatures, six of them.  Each had four sheets of paper, which are then folded into 8 edges and sewn together, which makes 16 pages, front and back.  That’s a 96-page journal.

It’s not perfect, of course.  This is my most glaring mistake, where I cut the mitre too close to the top of the board.

And this one, where the pastedown on the right-hand side of the photo doesn’t get as close to the edge of the cover as I would have liked.

But, even with those mistakes (which I have seen on professionally-bound books, so I don’t feel too terrible about them), I am quite pleased with how my first attempt turned out.  I do believe I will be doing some more of this.

Comments (1)

ZaftigWendyApril 30th, 2009 at 9:49 am

When my Vogue Knitting finally falls out of its binding, I’m sending it to you for repair…

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