A Japanese Binding
As my fiancee and I were at our calligrapher's studio the other day, I chanced to mention my interest in bookbinding. We talked for a long time, and she eventually gave me some handouts she'd made for her own bookbinding class. It turns out that calligraphy is often part of a larger discipline of manuscript, and so the creation of the entire book is taught.
This particular technique is for perfect binding without gluing the spine. Regardless of this, it is still important for the grain of the paper to run parallel to the spine.
- Assemble book-block, including one pair of endpapers (same size as book-block)
- Cut two boards: height = height of book-block, width = width of book-block - 1/8". Trim off 3/4" spine piece from each board
- If book is to be covered with paper, cut 2 reinforcing strips: length = height of book-block, width = 1-1.5"
- Make pattern for covering and cut two out of covering material. The angle on the slant around the spine piece should be 45 degrees, and there should be a little bit of a gap between the corners of the spine piece and the left flap's beginning that's a little wider than the thickness of the spine piece.
- Apply paste to the covering and place boards as shown. Apply paste to the reinforcing strip, then rub the strip well into the joint and onto the boards. Tri the corners at foreedge of head and tail. Turn over at head and tail, then at foreedge and spine. Press.
- Cut two more endpapers to fit inside of the boards, allowing 1/8" of book covering to show on all four sides. Paste them up, apply them to covered boards, and press.
- (optional) Make spine strip out of thin chip or heavy paper. Width = thickness of book. Length = length of spine plus 1.5". Trim off two pieces: 3/4" each, from the strip.
- (optional) Make pattern for spine covering and cut it out of covering material. Apply paste and place strip pieces on it as shown on left. Turn over 1/4" at each end and apply paste again. Knock up book-block square at head and spine, clamp it, then wrap spine covering around spine. Press.
- Measure board and mark for sewing holes. The distance between holes is not mandated, but the number of holes must be odd. Allow approximately 3/4" from outside holes to head and tail edges.
- Place boards around book-block and knock up square at head and spine. Clamp it together. With awl, heavy needle, or drill, make holes -- which should be large enough to hold three cords. Flatten edges of holes with your bone folder if necessary.
- Cut cord (6 * book height) and lace up book. Finish off with square knot and poke it into hole, or trim lace ends close to hole and secure with a bit of white glue in hole.
There is a pretty good coverage of how to do the final lacing at http://www.sff.net/people/Brook.West/bind/bindit.html