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Re: Advice on binding a single sig. -- SAVE THE ORIGINAL!!!

I missed the original question on this topic. Hope it is not to late to save
an original from being scanned and photocopied. Although photocopying is
certainly an alternative, every binder should know about a technique developed
by the English binder, Tommy Harrison.
My mentor, the late Bill Anthony, gave me a photocopy of a book that Mr.
Harrison published in 1950 at the London School of Printing entitled FRAGMENTS

Without illustrations, this will be a little hard to describe, but I will try.

The basic idea is to take the signature and fold another gathering of similar
thickness paper around it. (If you have single sheets or leaves, you will have
to join them into a signature with Japanese paper -- standard procedure). With
the two signatures folded as one, sew through the fold in a standard pamphlet
style (figure eight) stitch. After sewing, fold the outer (new) signature back
on itself and trim off most of the new signature, leaving a stub of
approximately 1/4". The stub can be glued up and cords can be attached to both
sides at the cut edge -- the cords will form something like typical shoulders
on a book. The stub can be (rounded) and backed - actually formed - in a
backing press. Endsheets can be attached and the book (stub) can be forwarded
in the usual manner. When I used this technique many years ago, I covered the
book in full leather. The result was a book with a nice, typical rounded
spine, but on a single signature. BUT the real benefit was a book that opened
perfectly flat because of the stub.
The stub can be used in another way -- actually it would be called Meeting
Guards. I recently used this technique on binding an art book with very stiff
paper. The signatures were sewn to meeting guards which were then sewn in the
standard manner. There again the final book opened nice and flat with no
strain on the original paper.
Another variation was a diary with normal paper, but the leaves needed to lie
completely flat for writing. In this case, the traditional account book
binding would have been used. Here again, the Meeting Guard technique was even

Hope this helps save an original book from unnecessary photocopying.

Bill Minter
William Minter Bookbinding & Conservation
Woodbury, PA

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