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Sewing Bookbindings

In response to Dave Lawrence's query about sewing a large book in a Coptic

Re the sewing problem with your thick Caxton....one approach is to keep the
thread as thin as possible (to keep the swell down) but there is the problem
of strength. A book as big, heavy and thick as you described really needs
supported sewing (just my opinion, mind you!) and what I'd probably do is sew
it over vellum or leather strips for that. These can then be laced into your
maple boards. It would be more a medieval binding, but I think this one
deserves that treatment. Then you could use your considerable jewelry-making
skills to design beautiful clasps to hold the book closed, treating it like a
vellum binding in need of constraint. The idea of a leather envelope is
brilliant - and most appropriate, as it will protect the surface of the
wooden boards quite nicely.

Of course, what the French bookbinders would do when faced with this dilemma
is treat the book as a 'livre d'artiste' and separate the signatures into
smaller folios by cutting the folds and mounting the individual leaves on
guards of a paper called "simili Japon' which would be calculated to equal
the thickness of the foredge paper after sewing...but that might just be too
arcane an approach.

Paula Marie Gourley

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