The joys of sewn board binding

On most days I will usually do a Google image search for the term “bookbinding”. I am pleasantly surprised at the number of images that come up, some reccuring, some new. As I work on stuff, I might just browse down the page of images; this gives me a refreshing sense that I am not alone in the world. It also reminds me of what I am: a craftsperson.

I love making things, books, boxes, something tangible. Writing is tangible, but once you turn off the computer, it is no longer in front of you. A book, on the other hand, is. It might get lost in the vastness of one’s library, but then again, there is always another book next to it to remind you of its existence.

As I was entering data on an Excel spreadsheet, I happened upon images, and instructions, for sewn board binding.

My friend Chris left this morning for Buenos Aires. She had a farewell/significant birthday yesterday, and I just KNEW she needed a travel journal. With limited time on my hands, I thought I’d try out this new method. This is what I hope is in her hand luggage:

sewn board binding

sewn board binding


It was produced relatively quickly. I have Gary Frost and Karen Hanmer’s excellent notes for this amazing technique.

I have little time for creativity. Lt me rephrase that; I have little time for all the creative endeavours that fill my head. This method which requires little glue, short drying time, allows me to be creative in a minimum amount of time. I think that once I get it down pat, this would be perfect for beginning student.

Sewing and lining in the usual way

Sewing and lining in the usual way

I would have liked to paint the spine, but simply ran out of time. I can see how decorating the spine would work, just as it does with Elbel’s dos rapporte method, which I learned from Rosemarie Jeffers-Palmer.


Adding the spine

Adding the spine


With minimal glue, the sewing is the part that takes the longest.

AS per the instructions I did use some double sided tape so as to avoid cockling and pressing time, but i guess I am a little anti sticky tape these days, so used a sparing amount of glue.

Small amounts of glue on the turn overs

Small amounts of glue on the turn overs

The turn overs reminded me of oriental binding techniques, and the cushioning effect makes  the book  very tactile.


IMG_4368I can see that I will need to experiment with covering the spine side of the board section. But that will come in time.

However, for now I will return to the bindery and make another book today!





Filed under bookbinding

2 responses to “The joys of sewn board binding

  1. The links to Karen Hanmer and Gary Frost seem to be bad. 😦


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