To celebrate my 200th post, here’s another DIY book project.
I started out playing with variations on the Australian Piano Hinge binding. I wanted a structure that permitted a double page spread to be displayed without interference from stitching. Things became more and more complicated, so I set aside my original idea and came up with a simpler structure that can be either sewn or glued.
I also wanted to do a ‘reveal’ —allowing the text to be read before the illustration is displayed. Lewis Carroll’s poem You Are Old, Father William suited my requirements. I have always liked the poem, and I have a birthday coming up next month so the subject of age seemed appropriate.
The first step is to print the pages: the pdf for 8.5 x 11 inch paper is here, for A4 here. Ideally you should be printing on grain-short paper or cover stock, but if you don’t have access to any, don’t worry: you should still be able to make the book. (I am ignoring the anguished cries from experienced binders.)
A note about printing: I used the manual feed to print my samples. It is important that you feed the sheets through with the same leading edge. Flip the pages sideways rather than end for end. (That’s why the even pages are upside down in the pdf.)
Score each sheet using the guides marked A, then cut across using the B guides.
Fold the four sheets with the image on the inside, making sure to match the top edges. You may find that the ends of the sheet don’t quite match when you do this, so you may need to trim a tiny bit to make them even and parallel to the fold. Make sure you trim all the pages to the same size!
Now fold your pages again, ends into the middle, leaving a tiny gap between the centre fold and the edge of the page.
Do these folds gently, then fold the pages completely shut before using your bone folder to flatten them. You want to make sure that the page edges are not preventing the middle fold from closing properly.
When the four pages are folded, you will need to cut the bottom edge. For 8.5 x 11 inch paper, the final book height is 5 inches. For A4, the book height is 14 cm.
Now for the assembly: as I mentioned earlier, the book may be sewn together or glued. In either case it is imperative that you double or even triple check to make sure that you are attaching the pages the right way round. You can’t see any indication of which is the correct way on the two middle sections, so be sure to look!
To sew the book you must first pierce sewing holes. Unlike a traditional codex, the sewing stations are not in the spine. Instead, they are located on the folded edge of the page at the fore-edge of the book. Pierce three holes, with the top and bottom ones about .5 inch (1.25 cm) in from the top and bottom of the book and a third one in the middle. To make sure your sewing stations match, you can pierce the holes with one page tucked inside the other.
The sewing is a simple figure eight, starting and ending at the middle hole, marked by the letter C. (Please note that the illustration is not to scale.)
To glue the book together, you do a version of a drum leaf binding.
Apply glue stick or double-sided tape or a thin coat of PVA to the strips marked A and B on one of the sections to be joined. Attach to matching strips on the next section.
There: one way or the other, you have a little book of Lewis Carroll’s poem with Tenniel’s illustrations waiting behind the text to be revealed. The sewn book will look like an accordion, and the glued book will look like this:
The guides for scoring are approximate, as the exact dimensions of your book will depend on the weight of paper used and the amount you trimmed to make the edges even. I cut the pointed part of the flap starting three quarters of an inch from the fold with a tip one inch wide. Instructions on how to make this kind of wrapped cover can be found here. Unlike the cover for Feathers, I left this wrapper unattached.