a signature

What you’re looking at, dear reader, is a rather large piece of paper upon which rest several items (counter-clockwise from the top):

  • A single signature made by folding the large piece of paper 4 times (thus it’s been folded in sextodecimo to make 16 leaves), then stitching through the folds that will be facing the spine of the eventual book of which this signature will be a part. (See WikiPedia on bookbinding terms and techniques)
  • A tool known as a bone-folder, which makes creating smooth folds easier – and reportedly, glue does not stick to it.
  • An awl, which punches the holes through the paper, making stitching easier.
  • Beeswax, to coat the thread and make it less likely to tangle.
  • A needle and thread.

Not shown: the knife I used to trim the pages after folding and sewing them. You end up with many folds that prevent you from opening the pages, so you have to “trim” the paper along those folds. Try it: take a big piece of paper and fold it four times: horizontally, vertically, horizontally, vertically. See?

Yes, I went to bookmaking class tonight. No, it’s not a class on how to take bets on the Superbowl.

Bonus Link! Check out Evil Rooster’s Bookbinding Pages.

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3 thoughts on “a signature

  1. Look for a copy of Pauline Johnson’s Creative Bookbinding (Seattle: U of Washington Press, 1963). Much of this stuff does not require instruction by an expert.

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