Wednesday 21 October 2020

binding the chapbook


In my previous blog, here, I discussed the preparation for binding and gave links to all my blog posts relating to this chapbook. With everything ready, the next step is simply to bind the books!

In creating a traditional poetry chapbook (less than 40 pages) I also decided to bind the book with thread (as opposed to stapling) and use a very simple saddle stitch with three holes in the spine. I have made a diagram of the thread journey below, where A, B and C represent the spine holes. The solid lines with arrows represent the direction of the thread on the exterior, and the broken lines with arrows represent the direction of the thread on the interior. Just as a reminder, the pages should be placed inside each other, as per the right side of my diagram.

This image shows the start, the first threads going into the centre hole. Please note, that though a large-eyed, fairly strong needle is necessary to hold 6-strand cotton (embroidery) thread, the needle should not be a fat needle, as used in leather binding as this will expand the binding holes and there is more risk of tearing the paper. Leave a few inches of thread outside the spine hole in order to tie a knot when the thread finishes its binding journey.

The thread appears in the centre of the chapbook.

The thread then follows the interior route to the bottom hole B (in fact it does not matter whether it goes to the top hole or the bottom, but just choose one consistently).

On the outside spine, the thread takes a long journey to the top hole C and goes to the interior back to A and out again to the exterior spine. Here one ensure that the long spine thread is in between the entry and exit threads before tying a simple knot or two. This will ensure that there is no floppy long thread on the spine: the exterior binding will appear the same as the interior except for the loose threads at entrance and exit points. 

On my books I decided to leave these threads at about 6 cm as a design feature, first tying knots in the thread ends to prevent separation of the strands.

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