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Bookbinding Spoils

Assignments Bookbinding

IMG_7814 This nice little stack of books is the outcome of my Bookbinding III class, where we worked on Simplified bindings and English library bindings, in addition to doing book repairs, working with leather, and sewing endbands.IMG_7818 This sweet book (one of my favorites from the semester) is a Simplified binding.  What is distinctive about this binding is that the spine piece is adhered to the textblock separately, and then the covers go on from there.  This makes decorating the spine piece easier, although we didn't take advantage of that particular feature in class.  This binding is ideal for slim, skinny little volumes. IMG_7819 This endband isn't sewn.  It's actually "stuck-on" (a technical term) with some over-sewing with silk thread.  Makes for a slightly more decorative look, though. IMG_7820 This book was the result of my first foray into leather.  I chose to do a half-leather binding (a quarter-leather would just have leather along the spine). IMG_7821 This is a sewn endband!  I hated doing it the first time through; it was a rather difficult skill to learn.  But after I got the hang of it, the next several attempts were much better.  This was the last endband I sewed in the class.IMG_7828 And this is an English library binding, good for big, chunky books, and meant to withstand lots of use. The book repair (or "rebacking" as it's called in a bookbinding setting) that I chose to do was to fix one of my grandfather's lettering books.  He painted airplanes during WWII and did some sign painting, and I was the lucky recipient of an instruction manual he owned called How to Paint Signs and Show Cards.  It's a beautiful gem, but the sewing had come undone, various sections were damaged, and the spine was coming apart from the textblock.  So I ripped everything apart, cleaned it up, repaired tears in every folio that had them, created new endpapers, resewed the book, added a new spine piece, and voila!  As good as new.  I love that I can use that book now, and that it still looks very much like the original binding. I'm not sure that I will ever regularly make large blank books like this in my life again, even though I really enjoy the process of bookbinding.  I am more inclined toward accordion bindings, coptic bindings, and smaller blank books that are less intimidating to use.  But it's a wonderful skill to learn all the same -- and it's so nice to have something to show for all that time.


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  • Miss B. on

    You did a beautiful job!

  • Jo on

    Laura, these are beautiful! I love how you repaired your grandfather’s book. I’m sure it was considered utilitarian at the time, but now it is a vintage manual turned into a work of art. What a keepsake!

  • Laura on

    Thank you!


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