Bookbinding, and the Care of Books, by Douglas Cockerell

Specifications for Bookbinding

These specifications will require modification in special cases, and are only intended to be a general guide.

  I. For Extra Binding suitable for Valuable Books. Whole Leather. II. For Good Binding for Books of Reference, Catalogues, &c., and other heavy Books that may have a great deal of use. Whole or Half Leather. III. For Binding for Libraries, for Books in current use. Half Leather. IV. For Library Bindings of Books of little Interest or Value, Cloth or Half Linen.
SHEETS. To be carefully folded, or, if an old book, all damaged leaves to be carefully mended, the backs where damaged to be made sound. Single leaves to be guarded round the sections next them. All plates to be guarded. Guards to be sewn through. No pasting on or overcasting to be allowed. As No. I., excepting that any mending may be done rather with a view to strength than extreme neatness. Same as No. II. Any leaves damaged at the back or plates to be overcast into sections.
END PAPERS. To be sewn on. To be of good paper made with zigzag, with board papers of self-coloured paper of good quality, or vellum. Or to be made with leather joint. To be of good paper made with zigzag, with board papers of self-coloured paper of good quality. Large or heavy books to have a cloth joint. To be sewn on. To be of good paper, sewn on, made with zigzag. Same as No. III.
PRESSING. Books on handmade paper not to be pressed unduly. Same as No. I. Same as No. I.  
EDGES. To be trimmed and gilt before sewing. To be uncut. To be cut and gilt in boards or coloured, or to be uncut. To be uncut, or to be cut in guillotine and gilt or coloured, or to have top edge only gilt. May be cut smooth in guillotine.
SEWING. To be with ligature silk, flexible, round five bands of best sewing cord. To be with unbleached thread, flexible, round five bands of best sewing cord. To be with unbleached thread across not less than four unbleached linen tapes. With unbleached thread over three unbleached linen tapes.
BACK. To be kept as flat as it can be without forcing it and without danger of its becoming concave in use. Same as for No. I. Same as for Nos. I. and II. Back to be left square after glueing up.
BOARDS. To be of the best black mill-board. Two boards to be made together for large books, and all five bands laced in through two holes. Same as No. I., or may be of good grey board. To be split grey boards, or straw-board with black board liner, with ends of tapes attached to portion of waste sheet, inserted between them. Boards to be left a short distance from the joint to form a French joint. To be split boards, two straw-boards made together and ends of slips inserted. French joint to be left.
HEADBANDS. To be worked with silk on strips of vellum or catgut or cord, with frequent tie-downs. The headbands to be “set” by pieces of good paper or leather glued at head and tail. The back to be lined up with leather all over if the book is large. Same as No. I. To be worked with thread or vellum or cord, or to be omitted and a piece of cord inserted into the turn in of the leather at head and tail in their place. No headbands.
COVERS. Goatskin (morocco), pigskin or seal-skin manufactured according to the recommendations of the Society of Arts’ Committee on Leather for Bookbinding. Whole binding; leather to be attached directly to the back. Same as No. I., excepting that properly prepared sheepskin may be added. Half-binding, leather only at back. Corners to be strengthened with tips of vellum. Sides covered with good paper or linen. Same as Nos. I. and II., but skins may be used where there are surface flaws that do not affect the strength. Leather to be used thicker than is usual, there being French joints. Leather at back only; paper sides; vellum tips. Whole buckram or half linen and paper sides.
LETTERING. To be legible and to identify the volume. Same as No. I. Same as Nos. I. and II. Same as Nos. I. II. and III.
DECORATION. To be as much or as little as the nature of the book warrants. To be omitted, or only to consist of a few lines or dots or other quite simple ornament. To be omitted. To be omitted.
  All work to be done in the best manner. Work may be a little rougher, but not careless or dirty. Same as No. II. Same as No. II.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52