Monday, November 5, 2012

Binding Stitches: Quarter Leather Journal on Cords

Today I'm continuing on with my Binding Stitches series!  Did you miss last week's post?  I wrote about my coptic stitch journals!

This week I'd like to introduce you to my most time consuming binding style (to date anyway).  Meet the quarter leather journal on cords.

These babies are time consuming, but they turn out beautifully!

Clover Quarter Leather on Cords
Don't you think so too?  These books each have 252 pages, making them the thickest books I currently make at an inch & a half thick at the binding.

I tear all of the pages by hand individually, and fold them into sections.  Then I sew them all together onto pieces of cord.  Then I coat the binding in glue & shape the binding into the curved shape you see.

Yellow & Blue Quarter Leather on Cords

Next comes the headbands.  For these books, I sew the headbands by hand.  It used to be that headbands were always sewn, and they can be an integral part of holding the book together properly.  But now, most books have a pre-made headband glued to the binding at each end.  Take a look at the ends of the nearest hardcover book to you & you'll see what I mean.  Those headbands are really just for looks.  The headbands on these journals though serve a purpose (further stabilizing the binding) & also look beautiful.  This hand-sewing makes them larger than your typical book headband.

Then it's time to attach the bookboard.  I cut the bookboard to size from large sheets, then cut little slits in it for the cord to go into.  Once the cords are pulled through the bookboard on each side, I cut them & glue them to the underside (inside) of the bookboard.  I do this by splitting the cords & fanning them out & coating them with many layers of glue.

Christmas Birds Quarter Leather on Cords
Once all that has dried, it's time to cover the book.  I first carefully measure & cut my leather.  The leather is glued into place first, wrapping it around the binding and folding it under around the top & bottom of the book.  I then take my bone folder to the cords to make them more defined.  Once that is dry, I cut & apply the decorative paper to the outside of the book.  Then I cut & glue the inside cover paper as well, completing the book.  The book is then pressed while the glue dries to avoid curling of the bookboard.

This is obviously a pretty simplified description of what goes on when creating these books.  If I were to create one all by itself, it would take around 2.5 to 3 hours or so, not counting pressing & waiting for glue to dry & such.  It is a long process!

Maroon & Metallic Gold Quarter Leather on Cords

The materials used in these books include:

*Bookboard (cut to size)
*Binding cords
*Decorative cover paper
*Text or Artist paper (hand torn to size)
*Binding glue
*Solid colored paper for the inside cover
*A book press is beneficial, but not required
*Colored threads for the headbands
*Waxed thread for binding

These books are soo beautiful & just rich feeling.  I love them.  Maybe it's all the time I put into them, but holding one just makes me feel happy.  They are excellent for use as a journal or diary!

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