Thursday, March 01, 2012

How To - Bookbinding - Post Bound Book

Hey look! It's my book again! Except instead of me posting about how much hard work I put into making it, I'm going to walk you through exactly how I made it. With pictures! I've started a new book, and I started photographing the whole process. I'm not going to be able to give you measurements, but you should be able to make up your own. A lot of the measurements I do give will be "an inch wider than the width of your paper." That way, you can choose your own book size. If this type of book isn't your thing, I also still have these posts with links to paperback bookbinding and hard binding books!

But, if Post Bound Japanese style books are what you want, continue on!

Materials Needed
  1. Paper for pages
    Think about what you're using the book for, and what type of paper you like using. Best part about post binding books is, you can use any type of paper, it doesn't really matter. 
  2. Paper Cutters
    I use a personal paper trimmers, an exacto knife and ruler, and scissors for different steps
  3. Book Board
    Get the good acid free stuff if you can. The thickness doesn't bother me one way or the other, so go with what you like.
  4. Sand Paper or sanding block
    It's for the book board and paper blocks
  5. Book Cloth
    You might try making your own (Google it if you don't like that process, there are 1000 more!)
  6. Decorative Paper
    For this project I used Japanese origami paper from Joanne's for the cover of the book and some handmade rice paper for the end sheets.
  7. Glue
    PVA is the best, but it has no give. It sticks. I bought something called "Professional Acid Free Glue" from Hobby Lobby and it works well for my purposes. I got it on sale. You can even try to make your own!
  8. Press
    If you have a bookbinding press (can I come live with you?) use it! If not, I use book clips, clamps, and pieces of wood. Let me tell you, if you have a book due for class the next day and you don't have access to the book press, you get /very/ creative.
  9. Screw in Posts
    These are sold at Lowe's. Unfortunately, no one who works there will have a clue what you are talking about. Look in the hardware section, in the drawers. It'll be under "Specialty fasteners"
  10. Rulers
     I have one that's clear, and one that has a metal edge for cutting. The one with the metal edge was like, 50 cents at walmart. I do have a love affair with the clear one though, it makes a lot of jobs so much easier.
  11. Cutting board
    Or a table you don't mind screwing up. It's easier to work on a nice table though. Really think about the cutting board.
  12. Time, Attention to Detail, and Anal Retentiveness
    No, I'm not joking

On with the Tutorial!

1. Step One - Cut out your paper.

I like to do this first, and then measure everything else off the paper. For this, I just cut a regular letter sized piece of paper (8.5x11") into thirds. For Japanese binding and post binding a book, a longer, thinner page works great. Here is a picture of my paper cutter. It's cheap. And it works. :)

2. Step Two - Measure out the Book Board you will need

It will need to be about half and inch wider than your paper. This will allow for a 1/4 of an inch lip around the pages of your book. I took a long piece of book board and cut the width I needed in a really long piece.

3. Step Three - Cut one inch pieces of book board out of the long piece you just cut
These are where the posts go, and the space between the one inch piece and the main piece of book board creates the hinge. More on that later.

Step 4 - Cut the large piece of book board
This is a bit tricky, but it usually works out. The trick is, there needs to be a 3/8ths inch space between the inch long board and the larger board, and there should be a quarter of an inch lip around each side of the paper. So that's an extra half inch. So it should be the length of the paper, plus 1/2 an inch, minus 1 3/8ths inches. I just do it by sight, lining up the boards, measuring out the spaces, and marking where I need to cut. Cut out two of them!

Step 5 - Sand the book board down
I'm sure you've noticed by now that when you use an exact knife, or a box cutter to cut the book board, it leaves you a nice, thick burr on one side of the board. The best part is, it works like a wood board. You can sand that sucker down! A sanding block works wonders, but all I can afford is some sand paper. I'd suggest doing it out side because the dust is obnoxious to all things sinus. I tried to get a picture of the burr, but I think it just looks like a shadow.

If the boards are just a bit off, sanding them down would be easier than cutting them as well.

Step 6 - Book Cloth Time!
Get out your book cloth and measure out what you will need. You can use book cloth in four ways.  

The four different ways to bind a book are, using book cloth for the whole book. There will be no decorative paper on a book done this way. Another way to do it is book cloth each side, leaving a space to put paper. (Remember, the paper needs to over lap the cloth to keep it from unraveling, don't give yourself too large a space if you only have a certain sized paper!) You can also use book cloth on the hinge edge and just the corners. Or, you can just choose to use the book cloth for only the hinge. 

You need to use book cloth at least for the hinge side (the inch piece and part of the larger main piece) because when you open and close the book it will wear away at that point. Paper is not as strong as book cloth, and will break down much faster. When you are spending this much time on a book, believe me, you want it to last for a very long time! As you can see, I went with cloth on both sides. This is called the half cloth method. I think it looks nice. I decided to make both sides equal, but I'm kind of regretting it now. You have to really think about balance and design, and one side is going to have hinges, breaking up the balance I was going for. 

Here is the back of the book cloth with everything measured out. You need a half an inch around the edge, and 3/8ths of an inch space between the two. I like to pencil everything in so I know where to put the board once I have glue all over it. It really does help. I don't have the other end piece of book cloth, it just has the half inch edges marked out. Remember! if your book board is four inches wide, you need five inches of book cloth. it's half an inch on /each/ side. 

Step 7 - Let's Glue

Here is a picture of the glue I use! I usually brush it on. I keep water and a rag near by as well, since it dries that quickly.

Step 8 - Clamping and Pressing
I've been using two pieces of masonite and book clamps to hold things flat while they are drying. This step is important, because without it, things will dry with lumps and divits and waves. Here I show how I am lining up the two pieces of book board with a strait edge, and how afterward I'm clamping everything down.

After the main part dries, put glue in the corners and fold, and then put glue on the sides and fold over again. I press it after I glue that as well, but it dries pretty quickly.

Step 9 - Decorative Paper
Here is the two pieces of book board with the book cloth glued on well, and there is also the paper I chose for this project. Now, the size of this paper should be an inch larger than the width of the book board (1/2 inch for each side) and enough to overlap the book cloth by about an 1/8 or 1/4 of an inch. Since I will be embellishing this with another paper, I made it almost the exact length of the opening.

After you cut it out, glue and press.

Step 10 - Embellishments
I cut out gold strips of paper to glue on, and took a photo of the back of the board. You can see how everything is folded over, and how you can see the hinge. Next comes the end sheets!

Step 11 - End Sheets
As end sheets are supposed to be decorative, you want to choose something different than the paper you are binding together. I chose this really nice handmade rice paper with all sorts of little speckles in it. you want to cut it out to be the same size of the paper you're binding.

To glue it in, I glue the board, and the brush glue around the edge. This makes it much easier on me. You may find gluing the whole paper is easier for you. 

My paper was very thin, and needed a lot of clamping.

Step 12 - Putting it all together

This part angers me, and I have no trick for it. I am very anal retentive and it has to be perfect. I can spend a whole bloody hour trying to stack the paper and book boards together. I'm still working on this right now.

Step 13 - Drilling the holes

I am using a regular drill, but a drill press is where it's at. The bit I'm using looks to be about 3/16ths of an inch. That way those posts can fit through the hole. The first time I drilled, the first hole worked out okay, and the second hole became wonky. To try and counteract that, I'm drilling a pilot hole first. I just picked out a thin drill bit to run through my marks first. This drilling is a pain in the butt, because until you figure out exactly what works for you, all your hard work can go up in a whirl of torn paper and tears with the push of a button. :'(

Step 14 - Screwing the posts in (hehehe)

If you get holes drilled, this is pretty easy. It takes smaller posts than you might think. I always keep an assortment on hand.

Step 15 - DONE

This is the part where you take your book to another person and go, "Look! I made it!" Or blog about it. Or start journaling. Or looking at it and wondering if you could ever use such an awesome book. Or you can start on your next one. Or, you might be having to take it into class where the teacher will break apart everything you did into bite size chunks of guilt and shame as he points out every drop of glue, every pencil mark, every bent page, and ever wrinkle.

That might have just been me though @_@

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial! If you have any questions let me know and I'll be happy to answer them. I know I didn't cover everything (like the difference between paper corners and fabric corners and how bookboard thickness affects the process) but if you run into problems, drop me a line and I'll do my best to help!

Happy bookbinding! (Believe me, you'll need the reminder)


BindingGuy22 said...

LOL, I don't think i could accomplish this one, I might have to call up a binding company for some help. Nice post though!

Vi said...

I know what you mean! The process still can make me cry sometimes. :) I wouldn't recommend this as a first time project, and would probably only recommend this to people who just love books or have masochistic tendencies! LOL