Thursday, 9 May 2013

Bookbinding - Week 4 and a Few Experiments.

Week 3 and it was time to try and salvage my rounded spine notebook. Last week I’d sort of achieved the rounded spine and applied the scrim and paper strip to hold the shape and support it. This week we were going to apply the cover. 

The process is slightly different than for a square spine book. First you don’t need the spine strip, just two boards for the covers. Make sure you have a square edge on these and then fit them into the lip you have created. Mark out the covers making them 3-4 mm bigger than your block. Ensure your cover corners are square (the block may no longer be ‘true’) and repeat for the other cover. (Your covers may not necessarily be identical, depending on how symmetrical your spine is so make sure you know which is the front and back.)

Next cut a piece of stiff paper the same width as the circumference of your spine and the same height of your covers. This will support the spine as it is not glued to the block. Use a scrap piece of paper to mark the necessary gap for your spine (in the same way as you did for the square book but measuring between the top of each’ ‘lip’) Lay out your boards on your bookcloth and cut out an appropriate section, leaving at least 3cm overlap. Glue the entire cloth. Then fit the boards into the block ensuring they fit snugly into the lips created for for them. Carefully place onto the glued cloth and then holding boards in place fold the cloth over the top. Unfold and remove the block. Lay your support strip in place and then fold in the excess edges as for a regular book, ensuring you ‘tuck’ your corners in. (A technique I am yet to master!) Then, as for a regular book paste up your end papers and attach to the cover, ensuring the cloth fits snugly round the spine. Give a final press in the nipping press and you are done. 

Unfortunately the finished book fell victim to the printing studio and the lovely bright cover ended up marked with ink. This gave me the perfect opportunity to get out my rubber stamps and experiment with my new printing ink. I’m quite please the result - even if I am still waiting for it to dry. The major issue with it is that the spine really isn’t that round, which is why I’m going to have another attempt. Apparently the secret is to ensure your sewing isn’t too tight so I’m going to be careful with my next block.  

I also sewed some blocks over the week, the nicest being this multi-coloured one. I’m yet to decide how to finish it although I’m thinking music for the end papers.

I’d also bought a cheap vintage Penguin from Oxfam and wanted to do something with it. Because I couldn’t trim the edges of a block over the weekend I tried using a rustic torn effect. I didn’t like this in the finished product and ended up removing the block - I plan to replace it with a vertical notepad type arrangement at some point because I do like the cover.

The cover is created slightly differently to a regular book. The Penguin cover is too thick to fold around boards successfully and trying to do so would have made the final cover too small. So the cover is trimmed flush with the edge of boards and stuck down firmly. The spine is created using a strip of buckram laid flush with the paper cover. It helped that I was using cream mount board which makes the finish cleaner - grey board would have been to visible at the edges. 

The block is then attached using the end papers as normal. I’m not sure how sturdy this will be long term and if you don’t mind the shiny finish some sticky back plastic would probably provide a protective finish. (Don’t worry, I have a Blue Peter badge so I’m qualified to use sticky back plastic unsupervised!)

I’d also picked up a Ladybird Easy-Reading book called The Story of Football. These books are interesting because they have lovely colourful covers with thick boards that adapt well into a notebook. I removed the original pages, used the title page and one of the illustrations to create the end papers and finished the spine area with a strip of buckram. 

The block itself is sewn as normal and then an end paper is added to the top only. I glued an illustration to the top end paper and then glued this to the second half  to create a slightly thicker ‘cover’. The spine was covered and strengthened with a strip of buckram and then the whole thing is glued vertically onto the inside of the covers. 
The technique needs perfecting. For example, I should have attached the end papers onto the buckram spine strip first and folded the edges over before attaching to the book covers.  The ‘cover’ of the paper block could also have been finished better  as I had to improvise to cover the scrim and ribbons. However the end result is fun, if possibly not very practical. 

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