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Re: [BKARTS] non-flattness in leather covers

On Sep 26, 2005, at 12:25 PM, james tapley wrote:

One normally chooses a very dense and rigid board for full leather binding; one of the reasons is to minimize warping. Also the boards are lined both sides with a good quality paper and allowed to cure for several months, minimally, before use. This also contributes to a more rigid and stable board.

Following are a few thoughts:
First, I am always interested in reading the comments from colleagues with different training or background. There is always something to learn from these exchanges.

At the same time, I think it is vitally important that we understand the materials that we are working with because the environment (dry or wet) will eventually do its thing to our binding. In other words, as a bookbinder, we must work with nature; we cannot fight it.

As to this thread, a few have written about the importance of lining the boards properly and allowing them to dry for whatever length of time one feels is needed.
From my Irish/English training, I was taught to line the boards with one sheet of paper on the inside (the side opposite the leather) and also adhere an additional layer that is wrapped around the spine edge of the board. Therefore, there is one layer of paper under the leather, and two layers of paper on the inside to counteract the pull of the leather.

As to dense rigid boards for full leather bindings, I'd like to share this observation: When I started my apprenticeship, we had a project where we had a Formica covered plywood board as a work surface. Granted, the Formica board was not the book cover, and the Formica was only on one side of the 3/4" plywood, but I think this illustrates a point of knowing and understanding all of the materials that we use.
In this case, the plywood board had bowed (arched) about 1/2 inch across the 24 inch dimension -- the board was 24 x 40. Knowing that a pasted sheet of paper has a good amount of pull, I took a sheet of kraft paper, wetted it and applied wheat paste, and then adhered that paper to the plywood, opposite the Formica. To my amazement, the Formica covered plywood board was flat when the paper had dried, and remains flat to this day, some 30 years later. So, the paper flattened the board -- pulled it flat -- about 1/2 inch.
Therefore, I don't think that a dense, rigid board will do any better than a soft museum board when used as a book cover -- in either case, the board must be properly lined before covering with leather.
Moral of the story, know your materials and use that knowledge wisely to your advantage.

Bill Minter

William Minter Bookbinding & Conservation, Inc. 4364 Woodbury Pike Woodbury, PA 16695 814-793-4020 Fax: 814-793-4045 Email: wminter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


William Minter Bookbinding & Conservation, Inc. 4364 Woodbury Pike Woodbury, PA 16695 814-793-4020 Fax: 814-793-4045 Email: wminter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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