Joint tacketing

Part of our series of lectures on board attachment included learning and practising joint tacketing. This particular method of reattaching the boards, is not necessarily a popular one as it is quite interventive and requires piercing the spine of the book. Conservators in Oxford have honed their technique and have it down to a fine art, but this is perhaps because they use the method quite regularly.

Another reason for not using this method of attachment that regularly is because it requires a high shoulder to the book, which are often not present. Indeed most of us has to make sample books to work on as our work books from The Courtauld and Lambeth Palace did not have such high shoulders.

One tacket and one piercing point

The technique is to pierce the spine from the inside of the shoulder, either using an awl or a needle screwdriver (which break quite easily), once the hole is made, a hoop of linen thread is inserted into the hole, and looped over itself to be secured in place. Next hole must be put in corresponding areas of the boards to be reattached. At each sewing station, one hole is made on the edge of the board, coming out into two hold on the underside of the board. This way, the two pieces of thread, are passed through the two holes and tied in a knot on the inside of the board, or spread out as in the picture below.

Two threads spread out

It is a very secure method of board attachment, though interventive as mentioned earlier. A way to avoid lifting the hole spine of the book being worked on, it is possible to cut a small ‘L’ along the edge and lift a small piece of the spine to attach the threads.