Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Supplementing Your Summer: Book Binding, part II

If you open any hardbound book and look at the binding, you will notice that the cover and the binding are not one.  This section that I cut from the manila folder, which I will call "the binding" for reference sake, is basically the binding that you see in the hardbound book.  I attached the pages to this "binding" and then glued the binding to the spine of my cover.

To attach the pages to the binding, I basically continued with my sewing idea.  I poked a hole in the binding with the threaded needle, threaded the needle through the top hole on a section of pages, out through the bottom hole, and then poked another hole in the binding.  The main things to keep in mind here are that the binding and the pages should line up, so either cut your binding longer than you need and trim when you're done, or line up the binding and some of the pages and then poke the hole approximately where the hole is in the papers.  Another thing is to consider your pages.  Before I assembled the pages to the binding, I put an entry on the first page of what will eventually become a journal in order to get a feel for how the pages would work.  I was satisfied and began to assemble.  However, if I had not been careful, I could have put this section in backwards, at the end, or in the middle, thus having an entry from July 2012 after later entries - somewhere in the middle of the book.  If your pages are embossed or are pre-written or otherwise directionally limited, make sure that you apply the first section to the correct edge of your binding.

Further notes on attaching the pages to the binding - since I had eleven sections, I sewed three sections of pages into one set of holes on the binding, leaving me with two left over, which I then sewed on separately.  In order to explain this, I should further explain my procedures:

Reacquaint yourself with the beginning of the paragraph two paragraphs up.  Basically speaking, referencing the above picture, I ran the thread through the binding, through the paper, through the lower hole in the paper, and back through the binding, and then brought the needle back up to the first hole in the binding, pulling the thread tight, stuck the needle back through the first hole, and proceeded as before through a new section of paper.  I attached a third section of paper this way, tied a tight knot near the lower hole so it wouldn't slide, and then poked another hole near the first one to sew on three more sections.  Can you see, although it is now glued to the cover (on the right), that the paper (on the left) is sewed to the binding (the slip between the two sections)?  You may notice that either end is loose (in this photo, only the top edge is visible).  It does not seem to be a problem, but you could also sew closer to the edges.

I did not measure the width of the binding and divide it for four holes of equal distance.  Looking back, I do not regret it.  I knew that it would be a comfortably tight fit with all the pages on the width of the binding so I put the first hole near the edge, the second hole close to the first, the third hole a little further away because the bulk of the pages was in the way, and the last in the most reasonable spot due to the space left on the binding and the bulk of the pages.  You may not find that it is so easy for your project, I am not sure.  However, if you try spacing the holes evenly, let me know how it turns out.

Once all the pages were attached to the binding, I simply held the pages against the folder (that would become the cover) up to the light and drew a sloppy outline, leaving extra space around the edges.  I then cut the rough outline on the folder.  Even now, the cover does not have perfectly straight lines.  This is because I have not quite decided how to finish the cover, so I will leave the trimming until later (which I will get into further detail later).

I then went down into my father's workshop and found the super glue.  Super glue is very strong and dries super fast.  To me, it was the most practical and logical choice of glue, especially since it was available to me.  Any suitable glue would work, I imagine, but may not be as strong.  Certainly, you'll have to wait for most other glues to dry.  I was, understandably, unwilling to wait for regular paste to dry, and I had no reason to.

I applied as much super glue as I could muster out of the bottle onto the binding and carefully pressed it into place on the inside of the spine of the cover.  Depending on what your super glue bottle is like, you may not need to be so liberal.  "All that I could muster" was not much since the bottle was designed to excrete only small amounts at a time and it was hard to get any even when it was full.  By the time that I had pressed the binding to the cover, some of the glue had been rendered useless so I just gently applied some more in between the two surfaces and pressed them together in whatever way I could.

This is the result.  The manila folder had not one but two extra folding lines, so I have a rather classy extra fold on the front.

The edges of all the pages are not even, which is due to imperfect folding, layering, and sewing, and I think I intend to let it remain so.  It adds character, but I don't see any reason why you couldn't trim the pages to be even.

Part III on Friday [edit: post delayed]


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