09. Bookbinding Projects

This entry is part 9 of 12 in the series Introduction to Bookbinding

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A folio is a great accessory for storing all sorts of documents like letters, photographs, catalogs and the like. A folio does not require any signatures, so you would only have to prepare the cover boards and line them up.

Cut out appropriate sized boards for the covers; these should be three for the front side, the back side, and the thin side strip or the backbone. Follow the exact same procedure that has already been discussed to attach the three boards together. However, this time you would be affixing the boards onto each other rather than attaching them onto a signature. After this, cover up the boards with an attractive material for a better appearance. You could go for a self patterned cloth or thick paper in a bright color.

Place the folio onto the bench now, so you can attach the lining. You would have to do this in a single piece. Use paper strips for measuring the exact size of a one piece lining as depicted in figure 133. Leave a margin of about an inch on all the sides, and crease the paper firmly at all the edges. Accordingly, cut the lining while ensuring that size is accurate and the edges are straight.

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Apply paste onto the lining, and press down one end of it onto the hinge of the folio while holding the other end in your hand as depicted in figure 134. Using your thumbs and fingers, carefully smoothen the paper and lay it down onto the cover board as shown in figure 135. Keep pressing the lining down firmly on the board as you progress onto the other side of the folio. Remove all air bubble by rubbing your work with a clean a cloth, and leave it for drying after placing weights onto it.


Blank Book Four Signatures

A blank book binding can be used for practically anything that you wish to so long as you make it as described here. These sorts of books are widely available in the market, but often the quality is not good enough, which is why you should create them at home.

You can select any type of paper for this book. For instance, the signature pages could either be blank or lined up. They can even have a feather or a deckle edge, but if that is so, ensure that the deckle is on the bottom edge as depicted in figure 136. A good size for this sort of binding is 9 by 12 inches. Cut about thirty two sheets of paper of this size. Form four signatures by folding eight sheets. Though collating is not necessary in a blank book, it is still recommended so that you get into the habit of it. So mark all the signatures as shown in figure 137. Align all the signatures by tapping them onto the surface or using a square card.

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Put two tapes on the signature that are about half an inch wide. Please see figure 138 to get an idea about the appropriate distance between them. Sew the signatures together and fix the mull onto them. When your work is dried up, cut both the mull and the sewing tapes so that their ends are only about an inch away from the hinge as illustrated in figure 139. Make the cover boards, and attach them onto the signature except for the back strip board.

Figure 140 - Blank Book 4 Signatures, Visable Turnovers and Side Panels
Figure 140 – Blank Book 4 Signatures, Visable Turnovers and Side Panels

The next step is to paste the covering material onto the board. For this specific project, a cloth is recommended, the size of which should be such that it covers both the boards along with the backbone in a single piece. It should be long enough so that it can be hemmed and turned across the board’s edge onto the inner side. Please note that in this particular project, the turnovers and the side panels of the paper will be noticeable even after the endsheets are pasted onto the inner surface of the board. See figure 140. As such, you should carefully determine the width and length of the cover material so that your work appears neat when you complete the project.

Figure 141 - Aligning the Cover Boards
Figure 141 – Aligning the Cover Boards

Align one of the cover boards, the back strip boards and the sewn signatures; this should be done in such as way that the mull can still be seen as shown in figure 141. Attach a strip of paper with tape on the backbone and flatten it out onto the board. Mark a line along the edge of the mull, and sketch another line at a distance of about one eight of an inch from this line. Now the width of the cover cloth should be twice this distance added to the width of the backbone board.

Now start cutting the cloth in a direction that the weave is parallel to the length. Apply paste on both the backbone board and the centre of the cloth in an area that is equal to the lines you marked on the paper strip. Place the backboard onto the region with paste and ensure that it takes up the exact centre position on the cloth as shown in figure 142. Make a crease along the edges of the board while rubbing the cover material carefully. Apply a thin layer of paste onto the edge of the board, and attach the cover material onto it. Place this unit onto the back surface of your book as shown in figure 143. Move the unit until all the three boards are in proper alignment with each other at both the upper and lower edges. Pull the cloth and stretch it onto the front and back board temporarily as depicted in figure 144. Once again, ascertain that the backbone board is line with the two cover boards.

A birds-eye view of the completed backbone construction up until now is shown in figure 145.

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Figure 146 - Using a Folding Needle to Finish off Gluing Cover Material to Spine
Figure 146 – Using a Folding Needle to Finish off Gluing Cover Material to Spine

Remove your work from the press and position the book erect on a flat surface. With a folding stick and needle, turn the cover material over all the edges and onto the inner sides as shown in figure 146, creasing it in the process. Apply paste onto the cover material and carefully attach it onto the boards. Press your work and remove all the air bubbles.

Now form side panels from paper of a size that allows them to cover a distance of one eight of an inch on the cover material as shown in figure 147. Apply paste on them and attach them onto the book such that the corners have been mitered and the turnovers have been pasted down neatly. Leave your work on a clean surface for drying.

Blank Scrapbook

A blank scrap book has a binding that is very similar to the blank book described above. The only difference is an additional step of stub creation, which would be required for inserting various items into the book.

Figure 148 - Prying Open the First Signature of the Scrapbook
Figure 148 – Prying Open the First Signature of the Scrapbook

Go through the exact same procedure given in the preceding project. Complete your work and let it dry. Now pry open the book onto the centre of the first signature as shown in figure 148. Using a steel ruler and a blade, trim the leaf at a distance of 3/8 inch from the edge. Trim every leaf until you reach the centre part of the last signature.

Please note that the first and the last signatures cannot be cut because it would loosen the sewing.

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