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The Basic Binding of Books: A Tutorial

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In addition to your book making materials you will need:

1) A large working area (if you don't have a large area, you will need to clean up well after each stage)
2) Both large and small binder clips (I use them gratuitously)
3) A waste paper basket close by
4) A stack of clean scrap paper
5) Pre-cut sheets of wax paper
6) A wet cloth (for wiping glue from fingers)
7) A dry cloth

Start by deciding how many pages and what dimensions you wish your book to be. It is helpful to fold pages with a bone folder. This saves your fingertips and gives you a good crease. Fold on the paper grain (the grain should run parallel with the spine). Here I fold seven signatures with six sheets per signature.

Clamping the spine end with large binder clips (here I use cardboard to protect the pages) and allowing to compress overnight helps with having flatter signatures for sewing.

It helps to make a pattern of your page for later use in measuring and cutting board, endpages, etc.

Lay one of your signatures on a blank page and trace, then cut.


Measure and cut linen tape and mull cloth for the backbone. I use a 50/50 cotton/linen blend for both my tapes and mull. For a large book you will want 3 strips of tape, but for this small book I will use two at a 1/2 inch width. Cut the mull cloth about a half inch shorter at top and bottom than the length of the spine, and 2 inches wider on either side of the spine.


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