Wednesday 26 October 2016

Japanese Stab Binding Instructions

Before I began binding the final books for my Good Morning books project, I did a couple of test binds. I thought the decorative bind (red binding) would work as the threading could recall the Union Jack on the English books (red binding), rays of sunshine (yellow binding) on the Spanish books, and a shamrock (green binding) on the Irish books. However, as the tests showed, the books are too small in size to facilitate anything other than a straight bind, so I went with a simple straight bind.

First I folded the endpapers, which are made of one long sheet, to wrap around the book pages.

The folio of endpapers + book sheets (in this case the Maidin Mhaigh prints) are carefully placed on the back cover.

The front cover is then placed on top to correspond with the back cover. The book sandwich is secured, taking care to protect the covers with additional pieces of cardboard. This keeps the book clean and pristine.

Measure where the holes are going to be placed to facilitate the binding. Keep in mind that the holes should be a reasonable distance from the scored margin edge where the book will open. In addition, an odd number of holes facilitates the binding well - one ends in the same place one began.

Since the book is secured, simply use an awl device for creating individual holes where the markings are. For these books I  have decided on 5 holes for the binding, placed slightly less than an inch apart. The books are small, so I could have easily only used 3 holes with wider distances, but I like the look of the 5 hole bind.

Flip the book over and ensure that the holes are as large on the back of the book as they are on the front. Be sure to have card underneath the book when creating holes to prevent damage to furniture surfaces.

It is easiest to make a binding using one piece of thread. For this size book (approximately 6 inch spine) I have used half of an embroidery skein for binding. Begin sewing through the centre hole, leaving threads hanging at the front. They can be cut evenly at the end of the binding process.

I use cotton embroidery thread and a thick, large-eyed needle (a darning needle is good - it doesn't need to be sharp). For books with card covers I do not thin out the thread, rather the way I sewed these books, the result is 24 strands for each binding. Embroidery thread is 6 stranded and I sew 2 threads at the same time, then doubling the bind.

This picture shows how I have sewn from the centre down one side and returning to the centre.

This picture shows the back of the book after returning to the centre verso when all binds are made.

Bring the needle under the 3 bind areas extending from the centre and pull before sewing back through the centre hole.

This picture shows the front cover after the needle has returned to the front of the book. Tie the thread off with the beginning strands.

The double knot will secure the bind and the threads can be cut evenly to size.

The sewing at the back of the book is even. If one prefers the end threads at the back of the book, begin sewing from the back instead of the front, but do not cut the final threads too short.