Calf Bookbinding


The most common form of leather bookbinding.

The bindings made from calf hide are the most frequently seen leather coverings. Such bindings have a smooth surface with no identifiable grain. The natural tone of a calf binding is light brown, but can be dyed almost any colour. (wikipedia,2017)

This technique would work for a traditional bookbinding store however this would be for a more normal bookbinding publications. For a company making blank books for sketching and note taking this is a bit to old fashioned, to appeal to the users of this books they need to still incorporate the traditional hand crafted techniques however they need something making them a little more modern and interesting beyond looking like an antique.

To create such a book as this the method of coptic binding would be used to bind the pages together however the cover would be attached using another method. First once all pages are bound the spine is rounded by rolling it on a flat surface whilst hammering it into shape often. A sheet of strong paper (specifically kraft paper) is stuck to the front and back of the book. After which to aid the shaping it is placed into a rig (a specialised vice in this case) which is tightened leaving the spine out of the rig causing it to fan out, again assisting the process with the hammer. For added strength glue is applied to then have Mull (Thin strip of mesh material) placed across the spine, like that which is used in perfect binding. A thin sheet of kraft paper is stuck on the now curved spine to be then left to dry with a weight on top applying even pressure.

A sheet of a thick card (or any other similar material) is then bound to each side using lace rather than the thread for a studier bind. Headbands (not the hair ornament) are attached on the top and bottom of the spine for added strength (These can be bound with thread to the spine’s binding or can be glued on, though the bound method is stronger).

To cover the book first the spine is covered with the leather (Before these would have been made from calf leather however now goatskin from Africa is used instead)This is for a quarter bound book, next for this type leather would be wrapped around and carefully folded over the cover to fit in place. For a full covering the same is done except with a single sheet of sheepskin to cover the book, again being carefully secured to add to the aesthetics.


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