Bookbinding Update | Week 17

Well last night was a mixture of emotions, good and bad!

The bad bit was not disastrous, but not fantastic either really – we were making the slip cases for our project 1 limp bindings (the one with the ribbons) and we had to trim the edges, which on mine are very narrow. The edges on mine should really be 12mm all round, but I think they are out a bit which is really annoying, especially as two of them seem to be 12mm at one end and 12.5/13mm at the other, so I think my box may end up being a bit skew-whiff. More worryingly than that, we were told to use the front and back of our boxes as a guide, which mean that my covers are a bit out. Mmph – am not impressed.

On some happier notes, I took all my stuff in that I’ve done so far, and it was all ticked off as OK – I think I may make another disappearing spine book (that was the one with the owl on the front) as the one I did was a little skew, and I should be better at it by now. I’ve also got to do some more art work, printing, mark making, voids etc, all the stuff I’m not that good at!

Most excitingly of all, we were given our project 2’s, which we’ll start this term and do next as well – so a massive project which will end in a proper bound book. The project uses books provided by the Folio Society – they initially give unbound books to the society of Designer Bookbinders for their annual competition, the ones we have are left overs of these. I’ve got Journey to the Centre of the Earth, which I’ve photographed below and you’ll see has PICTURES!! Amazing pictures – its very exciting! I have to design end papers, and the cover, so need to read the book – has anyone got an old tatty copy? It won’t be done using leather as I have no experience in leather, but still very exciting all the same!

C&G Week 16 | Packed Sewing

Yesterday I was learning about ‘packed sewing’, this is another form of sewing, which dates back to the middle/dark ages. It was used for binding vellum and parchment and all those old forms of paper, the reason being this type of paper would expand at the fore-edge of the book (the bit opposite the spine), the packed sewing would ‘pack’ the thread together at the spine, therefore expanding the spine in compensation for the expanded fore-edge, making the book more square shaped rather than wedged!

All very interesting I thought – the one above is a practice and I have not ‘packed’ it out enough. This colourful one I have made at home and made it a lot bigger – very pretty!

C&G Week 15 | Casing-in a flat back binding

Yesterday was a good day, we didn’t have the board to start the slip cases, so the evening was a catch up evening – giving me the chance to finish my Flat back binding, which I managed and is now complete. This was the one I sent an image of some time back showing the card and the pink cloth on the spine and corners.

Well to finish it, I covered it in paper which I had made from the art part of the course, and then had to ‘case it in’. This you have to do fairly quickly – its covering the end paper with glue and sticking the text block onto the boards. This however is also the part which most easily goes wrong. Unfortunately due to it being the VERY last thing you do, it is also the most disastrous if it DOES go wrong, as you have to start from scratch! Things that could go wrong would be the skew-whiffing of the text block and misaligning it completely, or possibly over gluing, which might mean the covers bend or the glue seeps through the end-paper, or you don’t dry it properly and it goes through the rest of the book, as C&Ds did. All of which you can do nothing about! Luckily, this was my most successful gluing yet, and I am thrilled to bits!

C&G Week 14 | Lacing onto limp boards

So I didn’t get an awful lot done on Tuesday, I had a bit of a panic that it would all go wrong – lack of confidence – however, I managed to overcome it in the end and get going again, perhaps it was first day jitters! It seems the further you go on a book, the more is at stake, one thing could easily go wrong! 

The first ribbons are now laced so the cover is not going anywhere. For the rest of the lacing I was thinking of some sort of checker board with voids, but I’m not entirely sure how to do it. We start the slip case next week which is quite exciting!

C&G Week 13 | Paper Decoration and Limp Binding

I have managed to finish folding the cover of my limp binding, I still have to trim the corners so it fits together well, but I thought I would give that a go over Christmas and see how I do.  

I also managed to make some siding papers for my slip case (what covers both sides of the slip case) – which you can see below hanging over the chair. The second one isn’t as good as this one, but they aren’t too bad. As you can see it is all very black and white, which I like. I might do some more of this sort of stuff, I quite like it, I might see if I can mingle some sparkle in it for wrapping paper! – You’ll just have to wait and see – ooh the anticipation is probably killing you!

The ribbons will come through the cover (cloudy paper) and make some sort of design on the front. This is the bit I am struggling with at the moment, and I don’t know what to do – I have potential to do something quite exciting, as I have a lot of ribbons and they are all nice and long, but I can’t think of anything. I was thinking about some sort of spider-web/cross over design, but if anyone as any ideas, let me know – I’m all ears!

C&G Week 11 | Limp Binding

Well this week saw a more productive session than previous weeks on my limp binding. You can see form the first image that I have finished sewing on my tapes (black ribbon) and end papers (black paper). The text block is made up from plotter rolls, its a little ‘hard’ my teacher said – which means that the paper won’t let the thread sink into it – this in turn means that the spine can get a little too thick, as there is no give. So I may not use it again. However, having got this far, the smoothness of the paper is really nice and gives it a liquidly floppy feel, which is very nice.

I’ve also got the mull and craft paper on the spine, which gives it extra strength and aids binding to the cover. Next week we are putting on the covers. Usually the tapes aren’t so long, but these ones will be visible on the covers – they pop through the cover at the spine –  so I have left them long to do something exciting with – though I’m not sure what yet – so any suggestions would be welcome!