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Re: [BKARTS] Need help

At 07:23 AM 18/02/2004 -0500, you wrote:
I could use some advice. I am making a book for someone in which the
text block is about 1/2 inch thick. The pages are printed off my
computer so they are not folded but single sheets stacked together.
The customer wants a book that looks just like a commercially made
book with hard covers, etc. I have made books before that I sewed
together many signatures then glued and put muslin on the spine, etc.

For a book that is not sewed, do I clamp the pages together and apply
glue and then japanese paper and then muslin and then attach the
covers? I read about the process in only one book that I have and it
talked about bending the spine or manipulating it so that the glue
works its way into the block a bit. Any other hints you could give me
would be appreciated. I don't want the book to fall apart soon after
I give it to the client. I want it to be able to be opened and closed
with no trouble.

Here's my technique.

I use a flexible PVA glue, un-thinned, so the solids content is a high as
possible. Add a doubled end paper on each side of the block, and knock the
sheets up square.  It may help to use hand clamps at the spine edge to hold
the book in shape while you clamp the block up in a lying press so about an
inch is showing.  Then remove the hand clamps and bend it over to one side
to as close to a right angle as you can.  It helps to use a bar or
something to push the sheets over evenly, and the hand clamps can be used
again to hold it in the bent position.  Then apply an even coating of glue,
quite thick, over all the exposed edges.  When you release the clamps, or
remove the bar, the sheets will part somewhat, and spring back part
way.  If you want to do a true double fan technique, you will have to bend
the block over the other side the same way and reapply the glue, but there
is probably enough glue in place already, so just bend over, smooth the
glue, and release.  Now you need to clamp up until the glue is set.  To do
this, it helps if you can clamp at the tail with hand clamps, and then ease
off the lying press and drop the block down until it is clamped up right to
the glue.  This is the time to apply any fabric or paper reinforcement.  I
use a nylon gauze and leave about an inch excess on each side.  Be sure the
glue does not bead at the corner underneath the fabric, as this will make a
bump later on.  Tighten up and wait until well dried or at least set.  When
the glue has lost its sheen, you can move it up in the press, glue or paste
up the end paper under the fabric, and glue this down.  This will make it
easier to case up later. Then drop the whole block down into the press and
clamp up, or remove and place under weights, until bone dry.  The resulting
glue binding can be finished in a paper or hard case.  The sheets will be
held quite well, and will be quite flexible, depending on the type of PVA
you use.  The end papers, reinforced by the fabric. make the hinge quite
flexible, so the book can be made to open flat, though not quite as flat as
a sewn block.  The end papers also hide any glue line when the block is
cased up.  In a paper cover, I usually just set the block in glue against
the paper and fold up along pre-creased lines.  I then glue or paste up (i
use a stiff glue paste mix) past the fabric, and clamp up.  The spine does
not need to adhere perfectly, as the strength of the binding does not
depend on the cover, but on the glue layer and fabric.  So I often allow a
sort of hollow spine, and on thick books I may reinforce the paper with
fabric and make a true hollow spine.  The fabric and end paper in the hinge
then holds the cover on, and this permits maximum flexibility.  However in
thin books I don't bother, and allow the paper to adhere as it will.  With
most paper covers I don't bother to glue up the whole paste down end sheet,
but let it fly.  You need good technique to glue down without causing glue
lines, wrinkles and curling, especially if the cover is laminated, which I
usually do with paper covers, for strength and durability.  I use a cold
laminator from 3M.

Casing in a hard cover is very similar, except the spine is usually hollow,
and the trim technique is different.  End bands can be applied by gluing in
pre-mades, and the glue down is usually full sheet.  I usually place fill
sheets under the glue down to accommodate the fold over in the cover
material, so the glue down ends up flat, but his is a matter of style.

The end papers should be as strong as possible, and usually thicker than
the book paper.  They carry most of the strain of opening and handling the
book, so they are important.  However, with a thin book, you can get away
with a lot.  I often just use a heavy (24, 28, 32#) coloured paper, such as
can commonly be found at an office paper outlet.  Alternately, use a
flexible craft paper, or, if the book deserves it, a hand made paper.  If
the paper combinations are new, it helps to make a dummy or trial book to
see how they behave before working on your final effort.

If you look in the archives you will find considerable discussion on the
subject of double fan and other adhesive bindings.  They are not
necessarily weak, and the various reinforcement techniques are mainly
useful to reinforce the hinge.  The strength of the page holding is largely
a matter of glue selection and gluing technique.  Commercial paperback
glues are generally hot melt and somewhat stiffer than desirable.  They may
then crack and release pages.  With flexible, water based PVA this is less
of a problem, and the double fan technique described above makes a strong
book which will last about as long as any, provided the PVA is a good book
binding (acid free) grade, and flexible when dry.

Gavin Stairs Gavin Stairs Fine Editions 525 Canterbury Road London, Ontario Canada N6G 2N5

telephone: (519) 434-8555.
email: stairs@xxxxxxxxxxxx

Gavin Stairs Fine Editions is a small, computer press specializing in book
design and fine, hand-made books.

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