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Bookbinding Tips and Tricks by Mylyn McColl

This month Mylyn turns her attention to papers, their weights and suggested uses.

Weights of Paper

In the UK we measure the thickness of paper by its weight: gsm = grams per square metre so usually the lower the number the thinner the paper and the higher the number the thicker and therefore stiffer the paper.

As with most things you can play around with using different materials and feel the different weight and thickness of paper, see if it scores well, glues nicely, if it turns round board etc but here is a basic guide to suitable paper weights for different uses.

  • Pages for sections: 80–120gsm
  • End Papers:  90-170gsm
  • Decorative Paper Covers: 120-170gsm
  • Soft Card Covers: 200-300gsm
  • Spine Linings:  80-120gsm
  • Spine Stiffener:  200-270gsm

September 2021

Glue Management

Glue handling is one of the trickiest basics in bookbinding, getting glue where you don’t want it can spoil an otherwise lovely binding. So here are a few little tricks to help your glue management.

Less is more

You really don’t need a huge amount of adhesive for paper, bookcloth and board to stick to each other. You need to find that ‘Goldilocks’ right amount – not too much but not too little.

Good even coverage

Using a mini paint roller and tray can help to distribute the adhesive more evenly Either foam or emulsion roller work well. If using a large paste brush make sure you are spreading it as evenly as possible.

Remove excess

Use your apron or a damp cloth to keep your hands and tools clean, when you rub down with your bonefolder you occasionally get excess glue on your tool make sure to remove so you don’t spread it with your next rub down.

Working efficiently

The quicker and more confidently you can work with adhesive the more control you will have. The longer you take to get things in place the more the materials are stretching and drying out.

Removing dried glue

If you do get some glue onto bookcloth or paper a crepe rubber can sometimes pick up the excess once dried.

I hope this helps be more neat with your bindings.

Grey Board vs Mill Board

The two main boards used in bookbinding are Grey board and Mill board. There are a few differences between them and each has their benefits and drawbacks depending on the project.

The most important thing to remember is that your board is used to create the case which will protect your pages. So, the content of your text block will help determine which type and weight of board is the most relevant.

The bigger and thicker the text block the heavier/thicker the book boards should be.

For instance, an A6 single section notebook could use 1.5mm grey board and an A4 photo album could use a 3mm grey board.

Mill board is denser and acid free so is often used when the content is more precious, for example you might use 1mm Mill board to house an old document or 3mm Mill board for a very large volume.

For design bindings most binders would use Mill board and often laminate different thicknesses to create the optimal density for the binding.

Here is a summary of the qualities of each type of board:

Grey board (aka Dutch grey, unlined grey or book board)

  • Relatively cheap
  • Made from recycled paper
  • Fairly easy to cut
  • Comes in various thicknesses from <1mm -3mm (750 – 2950microns)
  • Not acid free
  • Not very dense (can split or feather on edges)

Mill board (or Gemini board or elephant board (might be grey, dark grey or green))

  • More expensive
  • Very dense and strong
  • Harder to cut
  • Comes in various thickness 1mm – 2.8mm
  • Acid free

Mylyn McColl

Bound by Veterans Makes Presentation Book for AMAR Charity

On 21st December 2017 HRH The Prince of Wales, the Patron of the charity AMAR (Assisting Marsh Arabs and Refugees), helped to bring the silver anniversary year of the charity to a spectacular close in Lancaster House. To mark the event he was presented with a beautifully bound book of photographs of the marsh arabs taken by Angus Beaton over the last decade. The album and a slip case were made in the Daffodil Barn by Bound by Veterans and it was a huge honour for BBV to undertake the binding of such an important document  for such and auspicious occasion .

Photo shows L to R: Jonathan Powell, Ali Strachen and Wendy Lagden from BBV and Angus Beaton photographer.

 

 

Three More City & Guilds Graduates

Three veterans were awarded the top City & Guf70845044e8a9ed13fce9ef948775e16ilds certificate in bookbinding last Friday at a ceremony in the Daffodil Barn workshop near Pewsey. Presentations were made by the Master, The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers to Wendy Lagden, Kenny Teasdale and Nick Simmons, who had each completed the City & Guilds syllabus over the last 18 months. Helen Esmonde, the Stationers’ Comany Master, praised the veterans for achieving these certificates despite the significant difficulties caused by their wounds, injuries and illnesses. They successful students are pictured here with the charity’s Principal Instructor, Freya Scott.

Veteran wins Bookbinding Bursary

We are pleased to announce that the Society of Bookbinders is supporting the Bound by Veterans project by awarding a Conference bursary to one of its students. Bound by Veterans, originally “The Wiltshire Barn Project”, supports wounded, injured and sick ex-Service personnel who have had to leave the Services prematurely as a result of their condition. It improves their health, well-being and employment prospects through a varied programme of therapy, training, qualifications and work experience in bookbinding. The charity is now in its second full year of operation, and on average provides support to just over 60 veterans a year.

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