Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Binding methods

I've recently been asked about the binding methods employed for my books.

Firstly, all the books I make are professionally bound. I print the pages, weather them, arrange them and then send them to a professional binder who will sew the pages together and bind them with the appropriate cover.

For my Nine Gates, the pages are printed loose, meaning an A4 paper is printed on both sides and then stacked together to form the pages. This printing method is employed due to printer limitations.Once the pages are cut down to size, they will be bound by the binder using the "Oversewn method", where loose sheets of pages are sewn together to form the text block. Small vertical holes are punched through the far left-hand edge of each signature, and then the signatures are sewn together with lock-stitches to form the text block. Oversewing is a very strong method of binding and can be done on books up to five inches thick. However, the margins of oversewn books are reduced and the pages will not lie flat when opened. I should emphasize here that my Nine Gates is a prop replica meant for display. The text is Latin gibberish which has no meaning, so its not meant to be read or studied over and over again. Nevertheless, oversewn binding a very strong method of binding and unless you put the book through really torturous bashing, the pages are not likely to come loose.

For Rorschach's Journal and the Grail Diary, the pages are printed in signatures, so an A4 paper can have 4 separate pages once folded in half. In this case, a method called "Sewing through the fold" (also called Smyth sewn) is employed, where the signatures of the book are folded and stitched through the fold. The signatures are then sewn together at the spine to form a text block. In contrast to oversewing, through-the-fold books have wide margins and can open completely flat. For both oversewn and through-the-fold methods, a headband is used to maintain the vintage/classic look.

Finally, for the Red Book from Labyrinth, a method called "Case Binding" is used. Like Rorschach's Journal and the Grail Diary, the pages are printed in signatures which are sewn. But these pages are then arranged in signatures and glued (not sewn) together into the textblock. The textblock is then attached to the cover or "case" which is made of cardboard covered with buckram. This binding method is similar to that or a paperback.

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