A flexible cover is suitable for an album, but it is necessary to have inside the cover a light book board to make the leather lie flat. The boards should be the exact size of the leaves and pasted to the end papers, with paste in which a little glue has been stirred. Tins should then be placed between the end papers and the first sheet of the book, and the book put in press. To make the pattern for the leather, which should be made to project one-half inch beyond the leaves of the book, place the book, back down, on a large piece of manilla paper and draw around the back, then tip the book to the right side and draw around it; same with the left. Remove the book and correct these lines with the ruler, and draw another set one-half inch outside these. The leather may then be cut by this pattern, the lines being drawn on the wrong side to correspond with those of the pattern. The leather should be pasted in place, the paste being applied to the boards and back of the book, and the leather quickly folded in place. Clean paper should then be laid over, and the bone folder used to rub down the back and sides until every particle of leather is stuck.

Pricking Holes. Method of Sewing

Pricking Holes. Method of Sewing.

The book may then be put under slight pressure till dry.

The last step is lacing the back with thongs. Holes should be made with an awl about one inch apart, and the thongs of leather run through in cobbler's stitch as shown in the sketch; the ends being tied in the middle.

A guest book is almost as simple of construction, except that it should be made of several sections of any desired size, and sewed on tapes to allow of free opening. Charcoal paper and smooth, thin water color paper are both good

Cobbler's Stitch. Completed Album

Cobbler's Stitch. Completed Album.

materials and, if the paper is folded twice, that is, cut in half and each half cut in half, a good size is obtained. Each section should be prepared as described above and the end papers made and lined as in the album; but each end paper should have, instead of a piece of book linen, a guard of thin strong paper wide enough to fold one over the first section and the other over the last section. These being put in position the book must be carefully knocked up and put in press between boards as shown in the sketch, with the head and back vertical. It should be under heavy pressure over night. A better style of end paper, too elaborate to be described here, may be found in Douglas Cockerell's book on Binding.

Book in Press

Book in Press.

In sewing a book there are certain stitches called kettle stitches, taken about half an inch apart from each end, and lines must be drawn for these with the try square exactly perpendicular. Then the space between may be divided up in tapes, five equal spaces if four tapes are to be used. Lines must be drawn across with a soft pencil, and on each side of each of these another heavy line half the width of the tape away. These lines should all be made very distinct, and it is well to saw in the lines for the kettle stitch with a back saw, about one-sixteenth of an inch. The other marks should be pricked through in each section. The sewing always begins with the end paper, and a long thread of embroidery silk should be used, with the end tied to a tack in the table, so that it will not pull through into the book. The thread goes through the right-hand kettle stitch hole, through the end paper and first section and comes out of the hole at the right side of the first tape, crossing the tape and going in at the other side, and so on till the last hole is reached, when the second section is laid on the first and the thread goes into the hole just above, as shown in the sketches. Every three or four sections a buttonhole stitch is made catching the threads in each tape. The ends of the thread must be tied with a weaver's knot. The sewing complete, the last thread is secured with a triple kettle stitch, and the first end untied and secured in the same way.


Rounding is an important process, as it gives shape and style to the volume. The back of the book should be soaked with glue, which is allowed to nearly dry, the book is placed on a table, and the top pressed forward with the palm of the hand. The back is then tapped with a backing hammer. The book is then reversed, and the other side of the back rounded. Backing makes the rounding perfectly solid. To back the book it must be put in a press, with the backing irons placed the thickness of the boards below the edge, as shown in the sketch. The edges are tapped with the backing hammer so they form a joint the thickness of the coverboard, as shown in the end view. The whole back is then tapped until it is solid, a strong wrist blow being used.



Backing - Book in Press

Backing - Book in Press.

The book must be allowed to dry, and thin boards may then be pasted on, with 1/8 of an inch of space between the joint and the board. These should be glued in place as in the album, and if the tapes are thin, they may be glued to the boards and the leather put directly over, but generally an extra paper or thin board is necessary. The leather cover may then be put on with projecting edges as in the album.

A word on the subject of portfolios may not come amiss. The size and proportion being decided, the number of pockets should be considered. A very practical style is made of a whole calfskin, the pockets being formed inside the covers, by folding the skin, as shown in the sketch, and the top and bottom being laced with thongs, which also form ends to tie at the front. The center of the back should be stiffened by putting on an extra piece of leather extending inside the pocket. The opposite side should be cut away so as to form a writing pad in which blotting paper may be inserted. Another portfolio is intended especially to hold sketches, which are often too long to go in the pockets of the ordinary size. It is made of calf or sheepskin, lined with a thinner leather, the two parts sewed together all around with cobbler's stitch, shown in a cut. An extra piece of thicker leather stiffens the back. When the sewing is completed slits are cut with a sharp knife through which leather straps are run, forming on the inside the equivalent of a pocket for long narrow sketches which may be slipped inside the strap. If desired, the latter may be finished with buckles.

Blank books, with perforated pages to be removed at convenience, telephone books, almanac pads and many other small articles may be made with the tools used in book-binding. The tools referred to in this paper are comparatively inexpensive - leather is usually dear if of good quality, but need only be bought as required. It is, however, much easier to manipulate than any form of cover paper, book-linen or other substitute.

Portfolio - Views of Outside and Inside

Portfolio - Views of Outside and Inside.

A short description follows of The Rebinding Of Old Books