Bound for Life
We’ve all experienced that magical feeling of holding brand-new books in our hands, or maybe an ancient manuscript we’ve held in the library, perhaps it was the excitement of handling your own bound version of your dissertation or thesis – whatever the document, there is always something special about holding and opening such a treasured object.
But, it’s hard to imagine the amount of work that goes into physically producing books.
Because when you think that basically any document containing a piece of text – long or short, which is held together with a front and back cover, the possibilities are endless…this is where our book binding service come in.
You can literally start with a few sheets of paper and some thread and, ta-da! You have a book of sorts!
Binding Through the Ages
Bookbinding is an extremely old profession, dating back to the 15th-century, and as such, it’s hard to imagine that there are still innovations being made in this artistic craft of fine antiquity.
Okay – the ancient Egyptians were the first to use ‘pages’ by weaving together stems of papyrus plants and then pounding them until they were flat, and then gluing them together to make scrolls.
Likewise, calf and deer skins were used to make parchments, which were treated in alkaline and then written on with ink.
But the books, as we would recognise them, were first produced in Germany in 1454 by a man called Johannes Gutenburg, who started book printing on paper or vellum.
Beautiful painstaking book bindings can therefore be found on leather-bound manuscripts, early printed books, and historical documents.
So, bookbinding traditionally includes the hand making of bindings with adequate tools, whereas the machine mass book bindings are no longer done by hand but entirely by automatic machines.
Short of this becoming a history lesson, let’s get this bookbinding business up to the modern day.
Modern Book Binding
The development of book binding is both a simple and yet complex craft.
Over the centuries, the basic construction of the book or text hasn’t changed – it’s still a series of pages (signatures) sewn or glued together between two outer boards whose outer surfaces are covered.
Influences over time have affected the production of paper and the ways in which they are bound together, making products that are more versatile and less expensive to produce.
Modern book binding is a combination of commercial, mass produced bindings by a high-speed, powerful machine in a factory and individually hand-crafted specialist bindings by skilled craftspeople.
Book Printing, Bound Cover and Accessories
Publishing houses tend to have large runs of paperbacks, magazines, and newspapers, which are stapled or saddle-stitched as they are seen as more expedient than the more expensive hardbacks books and other such literature, which needs to be more durable.
There are many different types of bookbinding available, which are used for dissertations, portfolios, pitch documents, as well as books.
Saddle-stitching, perfect binding, spiral or wire binding, screw-post, Japanese, Coptic, and pamphlet binding are just some of the many modern-day bookbinding techniques which can produce standard types of binding with fast turnarounds.
Today, because of commercialism, the paperback and the streamlining of book production is composed of individual pieces of paper usually glued directly onto a thicker paper binding and rules supreme.
Hardcover books, although they share many of the great characteristics of their forefathers, often lack the care and artistry of yesteryear.
Luckily, there are still book smiths who dedicate their work to produce more elegant works of book bindery.
However, there are still book artists who believe in the unique craft of fusing a number of materials such as leather, paper, and the needle and creating wonderful hand crafted books.
Whether by producing entirely new book bindings or by repairing the existing binding, modern-day artisans can recreate traditional looks, methods, and products but with 21st-century products.
Handmade for hand book binders means attention to detail, a respect for the materials, and a dedication to craftsmanship, as well as an acknowledgment of a heritage craft.
Each of these books is, therefore hand-sewn with archival materials in archival binding styles by using traditional, time-honoured techniques and tools.
21st-century materials, contemporary colours, and innovative but archival book binding styles can provide a new approach to a traditional idea with materials that can include animal skin, cork, and linen.
This means book binding quality because of the slower pace of production and fine attention to detail.
Hand book binding products are brilliant for wedding guest books, leather journals and miniature journals, and memory books.
There are times in our lives when an individualised book binding is just what’s needed for that elegant touch with materials ranging from leather to suede, silk, and vellum.
Perhaps specific hand marbling and calligraphy are required to create that rich finish.
Binding and Storage
Before you can have your book bound, you need to print the pages of your book. We use high quality printers for our book printing services, allowing us to create the pages of your book to your design. So whether you want a hardback cover book with spine lettering or to print your diary, we can help.
By having your own specific book binding requirements met gives a personalised and unique book binding product for that special occasion, whether it’s for a presentation, a portfolio, menus, dissertation or thesis, novel or journal, photo album or wedding book.
Using traditional sewing techniques or more modern methods is up to you when you go bespoke.
Bespoke book binders have a passion for the great British tradition of bookbinding and use qualified artisans to produce individualised items with excellent craftsmanship, rather than mass-produced high-street products.
Artisan binding styles and finishing techniques can include hand-tooled gold leaf detailing and ink-speckled page edging. It all depends on the service and accessories.
As with most books, there are two main elements involved – the book block and the case binding.
Book Block and Case
The book block determines the size, shape, and orientation, as well as the paper type and binding style.
The case refers to the outer covers and the spine, which again, has various styles, material, and fabrics – it really is up to you when it’s being tailored-made.
Whether you want die stamping, letterpress, foil blocking, or lithography, the bookbinding options are endless.
If you have a book that has a restoration or repair requirement, professional book binders with expert knowledge and skills of the craft can help.