Monday, July 15, 2019

Bookbinding resources

A few people on MeWe were discussing repairing and rebinding old gaming books and materials. I mentioned some of that work that I've done in the past, so I was asked to give some of the sources I used to get started.

I'm going to start with some caveats. First, I am definitely not a professional binder. I do it in my spare time to either repair books in my collection, to combine ratty copies of books into big omnibus volumes, to bind copies of things I have in PDF but not physical form, or to make notebooks and sketchbooks.

Second, many of the online resources I had bookmarked have vanished. Not too surprising, given the transience of things online. Still, if you find something you really like and will likely need to reference in the future, the best bet is to download it or print it. It won't necessarily be there when you get back.

Third, there are a LOT more resources available. I haven't bookmarked them because I often do a new search whenever I'm trying to do something new. These are the references I have gone back to repeatedly or ones that I was able to find with some dedicated searching.

Before anything else, go read this blog post with tips for beginning book binders. I wish this had existed and I had read it before I started binding. It would have saved me some headache and heartache along the way. I definitely just bookmarked it to come back to and print later.

The first thing I researched for my use was repairing the binding and spine on a book. The following sites helped immensely with that and other repair tasks. The first deals specifically with the binding. The second was produced by Dartmouth University Library and covers all manner of book repairs.

How to Repair a Book's Binding
A Simple Book Repair Manual

After doing a few repairs, I stepped up to single sheet binding. I used this to bind a few things I had from graduate school. I also used it to bind my omnibus of the Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, Monster Manual, Deities and Demigods, Fiend Folio, and Monster Manual II. The first link is one that I've had stored in my bookmarks. The other link I had for case binding is gone, but the second link here is as good or better than what I started with.

Single Sheet Bookbinding
iBookbinding Case Binding Tutorial

Next I started looking at different binding types. The first link below talks about a few different binding styles without getting into too much depth. There are a variety of different stitching, boarding, and decorating styles that binders use. My favorite is spineless or coverless Coptic binding. It produces a nice decorative spine with just the pages, especially if you use a contrasting thread. It's also fairly simple to do once you get the hang of it.

Self-Publishing Basics: 5 Book Binding Styles Illustrated
Coptic Stitch Bookbinding Tutorial
Create a Stunning Combination Coptic Long-stitch Archival Book

Finally, here are a few companies that I have looked at for equipment and supplies. You can get most of the simpler equipment from a craft or art supply store. I recommend getting a sturdy bone folder, a paper awl, a good set of needles, and a sharp pair of scissors. Only use the scissors and needles for binding. Paper is notorious for dulling scissors, so make sure you keep your thread scissors away from paper unless you have a scissor sharpener.

For larger equipment, you will either need to buy it or build it. The first link is to a site that shows a simple bookbinding jig. The second is to a set of plans and instructions for building a lying press, punching cradle, and sewing frame. I've been using a cradle made from these plans for a few years now. The third is to a company that makes bookbinding equipment. I haven't purchased any of their equipment, but it looks good on the site. Caveat emptor.

How to Build a DIY Bookbinding Jig
Making Simple Bookbinding Equipment
Affordable Binding Equipment

Finally, here are a few resources for materials. I have used Hollander's for most of my materials. I buy tape and things I need quickly from Art Supply Warehouse, because it's close to home. The link is to a search for "bookbinding" on their site. Hollinger Metal Edge has a good selection of general bookbinding supplies, including some archival-quality products if you really need to preserve what you're binding. The link is to their "Book and Document Repair" section. You might want to take a look at the "Book Jacket Covers..." and "Book, Document, and Paper Storage" sections as well. There are plenty of other companies, especially for fancy papers to use as endpapers and cloth to use for covers. Experiment and let me know what really works for you.

Art Supply Warehouse
Hollinger Metal Edge – archival products

If people are interested, I can try to dig up the pictures I took while I was making the AD&D Omnibus. Drop me a comment and let me know if I should post them.

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to see the pictures if you could find them. Thanks!