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Re: Stabbound Journals

Dear Julie,
The Japanese stab binding was designed for lightweight Japanese paper folded
at the foredge and in that instance, the thickness was probably a maximum of
about 3/4". The book functions well with Japanese paper because the paper is
limp, and the paper flexes cleanly against the stiff, held-down spine.  When
you start to use Western papers which are much denser, you have to pay
attention to the grain of the paper to help the flexing, and, much more
important, you have to make the distance from the bound spine to the foredge
the correct amount. Otherwise, your book will slam shut. The wider the
distance the better. So the weight of the book is a factor as well, since the
Western paper weighs more per piece. The Japanese folded the paper at the
foredge because they printed just one side because it is rather transparent
usually. One test for the appropriate thickness and flexibility of your
Western paper for this style binding is to hold the paper along the side that
will be bound (like between two rulers) and let the paper release itself at
the foredge. If the foredge of the paper falls all the way down to the spine
edge, (if the spine is flush with a table top, for example) you are in good
shape. Some good papers to use would be Rives lightweight (which also goes
through a laser printer beautifully) or lightweight commercial writing
papers. I see so many really terrible stab-sewn books! It's sooooo much
better to fold your paper and make signatures and sew through the fold. Then
you have 100 different options for sewing styles and binding styles. Get
Books, Boxes and Wraps to start with and read it carefully. They do a good
job. And get Keith Smith's Non-Adhesive Binding, Vol. One. Good luck.
Kitty Maryatt
Two Hands Press

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