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Re: Sewing stations

I would agree with Jack Thomson that there is some confusion over
terminology here.  Sewing stations are indeed the points in the
gathering where the needle and thread exit and cross over or wrap
around the sewing supports before re-entering the gathering. A
sewing frame is just that, a frame on which you sew books.

I would disagree however that a sewing frame is not necessary
when sewing a single book.  The frame not only keeps the sewing
supports in correct alignment and under tension but enables you
to apply sufficient and consistent tension on the thread when
sewing.  More importantly it allows a consolidation of the
sections of the book that would be impossible without the frame.
A properly sewn and consolidated textblock will almost round and
back itself.  The book will hold its shape naturally without
relying upon an adhesive to do what the structure was meant to do.

All of this need not deter Patricia foregoing the use of the
sewing frame in her classes.  From her description its appears
that her students and not 'binding' their books but 'casing'
them.  If the book is to be cased as a flat back book then the
quality of the sewing becomes less of an issue since the books
need not be rounded and backed afterwards.

At the London College of Printing the first exercises in hand
sewing textblocks for casing were sewn on the bench without the
use of a sewing frame.  I have also spoken to German bookbinders
who have told me that they were not allowed to use a sewing frame
beyond their first year of apprenticeship.  But I still maintain
that a well bound book is a sum of its parts and if you skimp on
the integrity of the sewing structure you will pay for it later
by having to compromise the binding by relying too heavily on the
adhesives and spine linings and the end result will decrease the
function and longevity of the book.

Joe Landry
Leaf by Leaf Book and Paper
Conservation Services,
P.O. Box 1554, Station M,
Halifax, N.S., Canada.  B3J 2Y3
Tel./Fax:  (902) 465-2190

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