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Re: [BKARTS] Mulling it over

At 01:37 PM 08/05/2004 -0700, Betty Stprz wrote:
...Edith Diehl (1876-1953), one of the world's foremost practitioners of
traditional bookbinding, has this to say in her BOOKBINDING: Its Background
and Technique, vol 2, p. 177:
"One lining paper hardly suffices to make an even and sufficiently solid
back for tooling, for most of it has to be sandpapered in order to take down
the high spots. It will be found that if a lining of meshed cloth, called
"super," is glued over the back, it will be unnecessary to use so many
thicknesses of paper. This makes for a more supple back, and the meshes of
the cloth serve to conceal the irregularities of the back, so that little
sandpapering has  to be done after the paper is added. Super, in my opinion,
is superior to muslin or the English jaconet for lining up backs, because
the meshes of the super clinch the glue to the back, whereas the muslin,
being a solidly woven material, is stiffer and cannot be made to conform to
the back and make as close a union with it as the super. This "clinching" is
very important in joining materials, as is demonstrated in cement work,
where a meshed wire is placed over one layer of cement to clinch it to the
next layer."

There is an incorrect analogy here.  The mesh used in cement work is not to
clinch one layer to another, but to supply something that cement concrete
lacks: tensile strength.  Whatever else super may do for the book spine, it
also contributes tensile strength as well.  I believe that there are two
somewhat conflicting demands on super:  One is to act as a filler, which
smoothes over the irregularities in the threading.  Another is to act as a
fibrous reinforcement to the glue layer.  Which is more important is
probably situationally determined.

I have noticed the problem of lumpiness in the threading in my own work,
and whereas it is more a cosmetic than a structural defect, I would like to
find a solution.  In my case, I am making paper bound trade books which are
in no particular need of structural assistance, but which need to be
rapidly made.  My solution is probably a filling adhesive, which I have not
yet worked out.  I think something like a PVA filled with spherules or
microfibres will do the trick eventually.

In a traditionally bound book, something similar could be used to glue a
stronger cloth to the back, thereby increasing the reinforcement in the
back, and at the same time filling in between the thread bumps.  If the
binder wished to remain true to traditional materials, this filling
adhesive could be a paste or glue with paper linters or dust
added.  Traditional hide glue is an exceptionally strong adhesive, and
clinching is not required for adhesive strength.  However, it does dry out
and break in tension, which fibrous filler or reinforcement would help prevent.

Please note that these remarks are at this point untried and speculative.


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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