Bookbinding

By Its Cover #3

Now the cover is dry, it’s time for a dry fitting to make sure my measurements were right. They weren’t. This time the air turned another shade of blue:

Sometimes I get cocky and don’t check things as I progress. Clearly a case of not practising what I preach. I was a few short millimetres out so the foredge of the pages protuded slightly beyond the ‘square’ of the cover:

There was no alternative but to make another cover. I added a couple of millimetres to the spine and cover boards to gain the extra I needed, and moved on to attach the endpapers. These are the sheets of often decorative paper that disguises the attachment of the book and its cover. I used some beautiful hand marbled antique paper I bought from Falkiners whilst I was in London the other week.  Here’s a close-up to show the colours and texture.

The endpapers consist of a folded sheet that is twice the width of the pages. First it is attached to the book by a thin (approx 5mm) strip of glue up against the fold, directly to the title page and put under a little pressure for about 10 minutes. Same at the back.

Then a layer of glue is applied to the back of the endpaper and scrim that will be attached to the cover. This has to be done carefully. I use pages of a magazine inserted beneath the endpaper to catch any excess glue. Don’t want to stick the pages together!

Carefully, the book is positioned into the (new) cover and the spine is pressed up against it firmly. A quick visual check at this point to see if there is equal space top and bottom.

The cover is carefully lowered onto the glued endpaper and pressed into place by hand.  Open gently and smooth any wrinkles or bubbles with a bonefolder. Turn over and repeat on the back.

Out to the press now. After putting some felt on the base and a couple of J-cloths on top to prevent any marks transferring from the press, the book was slipped into place, with only about 15mm clearance.

A goodly amount of pressure was applied and it was off to clear up.

The next day and here it is.

When the dark blue cover is opened, you are met by a riot of russets, pinks, yellows and black! I’m glad this went well as I only bought one sheet of this paper!

The original colour of the endpapers is a pale pink and provides a transitional colour stage before the yellowed book pages themselves.

All done. It’s not perfect, but I have made a durable working cover that should protect this book for a good few years more.

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2 thoughts on “By Its Cover #3

  1. Great to see this finished, I’ve been looking forward to seeing the final photograph. Nice one! Would you consider some for of typography on the spine / cover in future?

    1. Thanks Chris. It’s not the best job I’ve done, but this is the first book I’ve done at this size and scale, so I think it is a good effort.

      I’d like to do some gold type/tooling on the spine, but done have the equipment. That may be next years adventure though!

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