Monday, July 30, 2018

Instructions: Basic Coptic Endbands

I had to watch a video a dozen times before I could get this sewing pattern streamlined in my head and a mantra created. The step-by step videos by miyalexander are very clear, but complex. It takes forty to sixty minutes to sew endbands for an entire book. The finished product looks complicated, but the sewing pattern is really just three steps that repeat in this order: Across, Through, and Under: ATU.

On the covers you will have five stitches in each of eight holes and a linked stitch through and across the book block. 

You'll need a full wingspan of waxed linen thread, plus another half span. In addition to a completed book, you'll need a regular bookbinding needle and a Japanese screw punch or leather hole punch. Pencil, ruler, scissors, and bone folder are also helpful.

Measure 1/2" from the head/tail, 1/4" from the spine, and space the paired holes 1/4" apart. Put down cardboard or wood to protect your work surface. Punch eight 2mm - 3mm holes. Front cover and back cover: two head and two tail. I made a paper template for two holes and flipped it as needed for all eight.

Eight holes. They are equally sized.

With a bone folder, smooth and flatten the area around the holes on the inside.

With the cover facing you, begin by sewing through the leftmost hole from in to out (lefties may find it easier to sew from right to left). Leave a 2" tail. Tie a square knot with the knot resting on the top edge of the board.

As usual, be careful not to pierce your threads as you sew. Pull the stitches snug, and align and rest them on the very top edge of the boards. For this, always sew from in to out, towards you.

Wrap the long working thread ACROSS the knot.

Sew THROUGH the hole from in to out.

Take your needle and sew UNDER the two (horizontal plus vertical) stitches. Eventually, you'll see the little X the two stitches create. Not shown here, but you take the thread ACROSS to the right again.

Sew THROUGH the hole, in to out, towards you, as always.



(THROUGH not shown) UNDER the X
Adjust the tension of the thread emerging from the hole as you go under the X.


After the final tenth UNDER on the board, bring the thread ACROSS the head of the book and sew THROUGH the top sewing station in the book block.
I've turned it around so you can see where you are going, but keep the outside facing you.


 go ACROSS the signatures and THROUGH the hole


ACROSS to the next signature


Continue the pattern into the righthand cover.

Make an additional half hitch knot, tying the thread to itself,
then trim. Flatten the waxy knot into the board with the bone folder.

The blue one has a simpler blanket stitch instead and lies a little flatter.

The spine is hollow and the book opens flat. You can see the connection to knitting pretty clearly in the yellow one.

The endbands add stability to the book, but also a nice accent inside and out.

To simplify the process even further, I created a pdf of the basic sewing steps at this link.

Covered Coptic Journals are now up on nevermindtheart.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Instructions: Covered Coptic Binding

Back in April I mentioned in this post that I had seen a terrific video at Bard Graduate Center of the making of a Coptic bound book with leather covers, endbands, and a clasp by Georgios Boudalis, and that I hoped to try this out. A few things fell into place, and I fell in with them.

The first was a technique I found that used painted and crinkled silk to create illusions of other materials, such as metal. It seemed entirely possible that one could make faux leather this way. Next month, I'll post how to make book cloth with this technique.

Well, okay, that was the main one. So I made some faux leather, and it was time to sew, but I had to go from memory. As with most models, I prepared materials for two books, approximately 4" wide and 6" high. For this size book, 4-ply museum board is perfect. The thinner 70 point book board is also fine. This book is super snug, so accuracy in cutting and measuring is even more important than usual. It is 1" thick and even though it is covered, it still opens completely flat.

Materials: (2) pieces book board, 4 1/8" x 6", grained long; (36-39) pieces 130 g/sqm Strathmore Drawing paper cut to 6" x 8", grained short (I cut them from a pad of 18x24"); 90" of unwaxed linen thread; (1) 8" x 11.25" book cloth; (2) endpapers, 3 7/8" x 5 3/4", grained long
Tools: pencil; metal ruler; awl; Japanese screw punch; curved needle; scissors; PVA; glue brush and paper plate; bone folder

These instructions assume you already understand basic bookbinding terms and techniques. For more detailed info, please see one of my instructional books.

1. On one book board, measure and mark: .25" from left; .75" from head and tail; and add three more marks for a total of 5 sewing stations. (The extra marks on this board, head and tail are to see where the endband holes will go. You don't really need them here.)

2. Use a screw punch with a 2mm bit and punch the holes. Fold all the papers in half and make 12-13 signatures with 3 folded papers nested in each.

3. Use these marks as a guide and measure and mark the five holes directly in the folds of one folded paper. With the one folded paper as a template, use it and the awl to punch holes in all the signatures. Put the template back into its signature and stack up the 12-13 signatures, sandwiched with the book boards.

4. See instructions for Coptic Stitch/Curved Needle in Making Handmade Books for complete sewing details. I think stitching with a curved needle goes a little faster than the paired-needle binding, but it still takes about 40-60 minutes to sew this many signatures.

5. You can see the chain stitches on the three middle stations and a linked stitch at the ends. You won't see them once they are cased in.

6. Prepare the book cloth. Place the closed book on the wrong side of the cloth and draw around one cover, leaving a one-inch margin at edge and head and tail. Measure one inch plus two board thicknesses between the larger rectangles. Cut flaps at the spine.

7. Draw a line at the corners, using a piece of book board as a guide.

8. Apply glue to the tabs and paste down, making sure you don't paste them shorter than the boards. A tiny bit longer is okay.

9. Glue down the back board. Then apply glue to the outer flaps and turn them in. Remember to pinch and tuck in at the corners.

10. Repeat for the front board.

11. One at a time, apply glue to the endpapers, center them head and tail, but align with inner edge of the board and press down. Place waxed paper between the cover and the book block and put under a heavy book for a few hours or overnight. You could stop here, if you like.

A historically accurate version of this book would not have had endpapers, but this isn't exactly that. I did add the sewn endbands. That post, next time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Special Book Art Collections to Share

I can't share my book art with you if it is hidden away in my studio, so I've handpicked and sorted some of it into selected collections and released it to the winds of my Etsy store, nevermindtheart. Each limited collection contains a couple books and a couple cards or small prints and will only be available for a set time. Maybe something here you like? A mere 125.00 for each collection. More images and info at the links.

Happy Summer!