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Raised Bands and a leather cover

This is the Forum for the art of Bookbinding, post your questions and answers about bookbinding here.

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Raised Bands and a leather cover

Postby InkyHands on Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:25 am

So far I've had to learn about bookbinding from youtube videos and whatever other tutorials I can locate. I've been trying to do a more historical style binding sewn on raised cords. Most raised band tutorials I find are the little attached inserts..

What I'm doing is this: I am sewing on raised cords and then pulling them around the outside of the wooden covers and through holes drilled in the covers. Then laying the cords in carved out grooves and glueing them in. I'm covering it in leather.

Other hard cover books I've seen don't glue the spine to the cover, but I assume that I should in this case since I want the raised bands to show?? And do I dampen the leather first? And what would be the best way to dampen it? ....I've seen videos with both damp and dry.

And if the cords go around the outside (like the Gutenberg BIble for example), then how do I get that hinged groove so that it opens nicely if the wooden covers more or less line up with the spine? Kinda like this -->

I don't have the tools to make a rounded spine so I'm hoping that won't be a problem.

Help is much appreciated!

-Amanda
InkyHands
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:45 am

Re: Raised Bands and a leather cover

Postby Shea_M on Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:57 am

Hi, Amanda.

Yes, you should paste up or glue the spine leather directly to the spine to match historical examples. Hollow backs are a fairly recent thing in the bookbinding timeline.

The leather doesn't need much dampness if you want to go that route. I would soak a sponge, squeeze out most of the water, then give the skin a wash, then immediately paste it up for covering on the other side and go at it. Be careful not to stretch the leather too much over the boards, or they'll warp severely when it dries, and it'll be a pain to get them to uncurl again. If that happens, though, and the boards are being uncooperative after pressing, use a hair dryer on low and wave it slowly across the inside of the boards about 2 inches away from the surface. They'll begin to uncurl again.

The dampness will aid you in forming the bands on the spine. If you don't have band nippers you can shape them out with the edge of a bonefolder, but you'll have to spend a little time with it -- which is fine. Don't rush through the covering process. Take your time and make sure it looks good to you.

If you're unable to make a rounded spine, you can get a decent round just by applying the right tension to the cords when laced into the cover boards. If you think "tight but not too tight," that's the right idea, and you'll probably get a nice subtle curve. As for the hinge area, I would bevel the bottom, innermost edge of the board with a wood rasp. Generally if you're making a rounded spine you'll have shoulders for those boards, but doing it this way with the edge beveled will help the board hug the textblock and relieve some strain when opening the book.

Having seen the Lost Gutenbergs in person, I can tell you that those books are built like battleships, and their construction is a bit too complicated to explain here. It's something that needs to be shown. I personally am still learning all the details. I can tell you, though, that the first thing done in covering them is the spine. I do this sometimes with large books -- glue up the spine leaving small areas at the head and tail unglued for the turn-ins later, get the spine adhered and bands formed, then once well attached paste up the rest and finish covering.
Shea_M
 

Re: Raised Bands and a leather cover

Postby InkyHands on Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:35 pm

Perfect! Thank you SO much. I hadn't thought to glue only one part at a time, that should help a lot since I'm mostly hand holding it until I press it using boards and c-clamps.
I clamped it and put a few coats of glue and some tarlatan over the spine for extra security on this one and it's pretty solid. I don't think I'll be able to get any rounding, but I'll try that next time.

Thanks again for all the help :)
InkyHands
 
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Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:45 am


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