Bookbinding

overview

Basic types of binding

bookbinding workshop Singapore overview http://www.bookbindingworkshopsg.com/bookbinding-techniques/

 

Bookbinding is the process of physically assembling a book from an ordered stack of paper sheets that are folded together into sections or sometimes left as a stack of individual sheets. The stack is then bound together along one edge by either sewing with thread through the folds or by a layer of flexible adhesive. For protection, the bound stack is either wrapped in a flexible cover or attached to stiff boards. Finally, an attractive cover is adhered to the boards and a label with identifying information is attached to the covers along with additional decoration. Book artists or specialists in book decoration can greatly expand the previous explanation to include book like objects of visual art with high value and artistic merit of exceptional quality in addition to the book’s content of text and illustrations.

Bookbinding is a specialized trade that relies on basic operations of measuring, cutting, and gluing. A finished book depends on a minimum of about two dozen operations to complete but sometimes more than double that according to the specific style and materials. All operations have a specific order and each one relies on accurate completion of the previous step with little room for back tracking. An extremely durable binding can be achieved by using the best hand techniques and finest materials when compared to a common publisher’s binding that falls apart after normal use.

Bookbinding combines skills from other trades such as paper and fabric crafts, leather work, model making, and graphic arts. It requires knowledge about numerous varieties of book structures along with all the internal and external details of assembly. A working knowledge of the materials involved is required. A book craftsman needs a minimum set of hand tools but with experience will find an extensive collection of secondary hand tools and even items of heavy equipment that are valuable for greater speed, accuracy, and efficiency.

Bookbinding is an artistic craft of great antiquity, and at the same time, a highly mechanized industry. The division between craft and industry is not so wide as might at first be imagined. It is interesting to observe that the main problems faced by the mass-production bookbinder are the same as those that confronted the medieval craftsman or the modern hand binder. The first problem is still how to hold together the pages of a book; secondly is how to cover and protect the gathering of pages once they are held together; and thirdly, how to label and decorate the protective cover.[1] Few crafts can give as much satisfaction at all stages as bookbinding—from making a cloth cover for a paperback, or binding magazines and newspapers for storage, or to the ultimate achievement of a fine binding in full leather with handmade lettering and gold tooling.[2]

Before the computer age, the bookbinding trade involved two divisions. First, there was Stationery binding (known as vellum binding in the trade) which deals with making new books to be written into and intended for handwritten entries such as accounting ledgers, business journals, blank books, and guest log books, along with other general office stationery such as note books, manifold books, day books, diaries, portfolios, etc. Second was Letterpress binding which deals with making new books intended to be read from and includes fine binding, library binding, edition binding, and publisher’s bindings.[3] A result of the new bindings is a third division dealing with the repair, restoration, and conservation of old used bindings. With the digital age, personal computers have replaced the pen and paper based accounting that used to drive most of the work in the stationery binding industry.

Today, modern bookbinding is divided between hand binding by individual craftsmen working in a one-room studio shop and commercial bindings mass-produced by high speed machines in a production line factory. There is a broad grey area between the two divisions. The size and complexity of a bindery shop varies with job types, for example, from one of a kind custom jobs, to repair/restoration work, to library rebinding, to preservation binding, to small edition binding, to extra binding, and finally to large run publisher’s binding. There are cases where the printing and binding jobs are combined in one shop. A step up to the next level of mechanization is determined by economics of scale until you reach production runs of ten thousand copies or more in a factory employing a dozen or more workers.

of bookbinding Edit
Decorative binding with figurehead of a 12th Century manuscript – Liber Landavensis.

9th Century Qur’an in Reza Abbasi Museum

Sammelband of three alchemical treatises, bound in Strasbourg by Samuel Emmel ca.1568, showing metal clasps and leather covering of boards
Western books from the fifth century onwards[citation needed] were bound between hard covers, with pages made from parchment folded and sewn on to strong cords or ligaments that were attached to wooden boards and covered with leather. Since early books were exclusively handwritten on handmade materials, sizes and styles varied considerably, and there was no standard of uniformity. Early and medieval codices were bound with flat spines, and it was not until the fifteenth century that books began to have the rounded spines associated with hardcovers today.[9] Because the vellum of early books would react to humidity by swelling, causing the book to take on a characteristic wedge shape, the wooden covers of medieval books were often secured with straps or clasps. These straps, along with metal bosses on the book’s covers to keep it raised off the surface that it rests on, are collectively known as furniture.[10]

The earliest surviving European bookbinding is the St Cuthbert Gospel of about 700, in red goatskin, now in the British Library, whose decoration includes raised patterns and coloured tooled designs. Very grand manuscripts for liturgical rather than library use had covers in metalwork called treasure bindings, often studded with gems and incorporating ivory relief panels or enamel elements. Very few of these have survived intact, as they have been broken up for their precious materials, but a fair number of the ivory panels have survived, as they were hard to recycle; the divided panels from the Codex Aureus of Lorsch are among the most notable. The 8th century Vienna Coronation Gospels were given a new gold relief cover in about 1500, and the Lindau Gospels (now Morgan Library, New York) have their original cover from around 800.[11]

Luxury medieval books for the library had leather covers decorated, often all over, with tooling (incised lines or patterns), blind stamps, and often small metal pieces of furniture. Medieval stamps showed animals and figures as well as the vegetal and geometric designs that would later dominate book cover decoration. Until the end of the period books were not usually stood up on shelves in the modern way. The most functional books were bound in plain white vellum over boards, and had a brief title hand-written on the spine. Techniques for fixing gold leaf under the tooling and stamps were imported from the Islamic world in the 15th century, and thereafter the gold-tooled leather binding has remained the conventional choice for high quality bindings for collectors, though cheaper bindings that only used gold for the title on the spine, or not at all, were always more common. Although the arrival of the printed book vastly increased the number of books produced in Europe, it did not in itself change the various styles of binding used, except that vellum became much less used.[12]

Single leaf binding

Double fan binding

Coptic stitch vs kettle stitch

Historical forms of binding

Coptic binding: a method of sewing leaves/pages together
Ethiopian binding
Long-stitch bookbinding
Islamic bookcover with a distinctive flap on the back cover that wraps around to the front when the book is closed.
Wooden-board binding
Limp vellum binding
Calf binding (“leather-bound”)
Paper case binding
In-board cloth binding
Cased cloth binding
Bradel binding
Traditional Chinese and Korean bookbinding and Japanese stab binding
Girdle binding
Anthropodermic bibliopegy (rare or fictional) bookbinding in human skin.
Secret Belgian binding (or “criss-cross binding”), invented in 1986, was erroneously identified as a historical method.

 

History of bookbinding Edit

Decorative binding with figurehead of a 12th Century manuscript – Liber Landavensis.

9th Century Qur’an in Reza Abbasi Museum

Sammelband of three alchemical treatises, bound in Strasbourg by Samuel Emmel ca.1568, showing metal clasps and leather covering of boards
Western books from the fifth century onwards[citation needed] were bound between hard covers, with pages made from parchment folded and sewn on to strong cords or ligaments that were attached to wooden boards and covered with leather. Since early books were exclusively handwritten on handmade materials, sizes and styles varied considerably, and there was no standard of uniformity. Early and medieval codices were bound with flat spines, and it was not until the fifteenth century that books began to have the rounded spines associated with hardcovers today.[9] Because the vellum of early books would react to humidity by swelling, causing the book to take on a characteristic wedge shape, the wooden covers of medieval books were often secured with straps or clasps. These straps, along with metal bosses on the book’s covers to keep it raised off the surface that it rests on, are collectively known as furniture.[10]

The earliest surviving European bookbinding is the St Cuthbert Gospel of about 700, in red goatskin, now in the British Library, whose decoration includes raised patterns and coloured tooled designs. Very grand manuscripts for liturgical rather than library use had covers in metalwork called treasure bindings, often studded with gems and incorporating ivory relief panels or enamel elements. Very few of these have survived intact, as they have been broken up for their precious materials, but a fair number of the ivory panels have survived, as they were hard to recycle; the divided panels from the Codex Aureus of Lorsch are among the most notable. The 8th century Vienna Coronation Gospels were given a new gold relief cover in about 1500, and the Lindau Gospels (now Morgan Library, New York) have their original cover from around 800.[11]

Luxury medieval books for the library had leather covers decorated, often all over, with tooling (incised lines or patterns), blind stamps, and often small metal pieces of furniture. Medieval stamps showed animals and figures as well as the vegetal and geometric designs that would later dominate book cover decoration. Until the end of the period books were not usually stood up on shelves in the modern way. The most functional books were bound in plain white vellum over boards, and had a brief title hand-written on the spine. Techniques for fixing gold leaf under the tooling and stamps were imported from the Islamic world in the 15th century, and thereafter the gold-tooled leather binding has remained the conventional choice for high quality bindings for collectors, though cheaper bindings that only used gold for the title on the spine, or not at all, were always more common. Although the arrival of the printed book vastly increased the number of books produced in Europe, it did not in itself change the various styles of binding used, except that vellum became much less used.[12]

 

 

 

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