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Re: [BKARTS] Cord and thread weight

David Manthey wrote:
> Hi there,
> I'm a hobbiest book binder that has been lurking on the list for some
> time.  Most of my work is done in the flexible style, sewn on cords and
> bound fully in leather.
> I have a question about what other people use for cord and thread
> weights.  I have experimented with several weights and types of cords
> and thread, but would like some advice from more experienced people.
> Also, I still find the designation of cord weights cryptic, and would
> appreciate it if someone could explain it to me.
> As an example, my most recent binding project was a three volume work,
> sewn octavo, with each volume roughly 560 pages (35 signatures), with
> the pages 8 1/4" high by 5 3/4" wide, printed on 90 gsm weight paper.
> Many thanks.
> - David Manthey

You didn't say what thread you used for your three volumes, and how they
turned out.

As I understand it, the first number of a designated thread is the
gauge, with lower numbers being thicker. The second number is how many
strands are twisted together to form the thread. So: 16/3 consists of
three strands of 16 gauge and is slightly larger than 16/2; both are
larger than 25/3; 60/3 is really thin; 12/3 is about the thickest thread
available. Cord seems to be defined purely by the number of strands
twisted together regardless of their individual gauge. If I'm wrong
about any of this I'd also appreciate being set straight.

Now: while I'm not trying to be dogmatic or doctrinaire, this brings up
a point that bears emphasizing. Of all the operations which go into a
traditional bookbinding (none of which are minor or unimportant) the
choice of thread, sewing structure and quality of sewing is critical to
the final result. The thread thickness is chosen to provide the
appropriate swell for the given textblock and projected structure, which
in turn shapes the spine and shoulders. Shoulder depth determines board
thickness. Board thickness can have a bearing on the size of the
squares. If one is sewing on raised cords, the size and the number of
cords should be proportional to the size of the book. And so it goes...
This is all a long-winded way of saying that you need to keep as wide a
range of thread and cord on hand as you can. Also, try the sewing
several identical textblocks with different thread thicknesses and
sewing structures.
Have fun.

Don Rash

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