Friday, September 11, 2009

Making a Case-Bound Book

I stumbled across the term "Case-Bound Book" and thought, "Eh?"

What could I do but look it up? And there on the vastness of the internet I found a wonderfully detailed site which demonstrates, with clear and seemingly endless photographs, how to make a case-bound book.

Curious? Come with me:

Making a Book

Images and text by Garry Harrison,
Head, Circulating Collections Conservation,
Indiana University Libraries
Web design by Jake Nadal,
former Head, Preservation Department,
Indiana University Libraries

(Click on this image to begin slide show.)

One of the best ways to illustrate book construction is to make one from raw materials. So that is what we will do in this section of the manual. We use some special shop tools, but since obviously not everyone has them, every attempt has been made to offer instructions for doing this with hand tools everyone is likely to have at home or can obtain without difficulty.

Our text block will be of what is called sewn-on-tapes construction. This is one of many different text block structures that work well. Our book will be what is called a casebound book, which refers to the fact that the case will be covered before it is adjoined with the text block, as opposed to after, as in, e.g., fine binding.

Tools and materials used in this treatment


board shear
job backer
backing hammer
glue brush
bone folder
ruler or straight edge
finishing press
flat boards, weights, and 1/8" dia. rods/dowels, or
standing press


binders board
book cloth
PVA mixture
text weight paper
newsprint or similar scrap paper
linen thread
linen tape
cotton twine
waxed paper
cotton backliner or other acceptable super cloth
hinge cloth

Using the Manual

To facilitate convenient navigation and use, the procedural parts of this manual are presented in slide show form. As you can see above, clicking on the image shown on each treatment's front page begins the slide show.

Here are the navigational options within each slide. To view this information in illustrated form see the map image below.

Each slide offers the following capabilities:

* Thumbnail images of the entire treatment procedure are in a vertical column to the left. The progression is downward, beginning at the top and ending at the bottom. By clicking on any of these images, you can go to that point in the procedure.

* Clicking on any page's main image opens a larger version of the image in a separate window.

* Button links are provided to return to this page, to go to the next and previous slides in the series, and to go to the complete table of contents for the entire manual.

* The text is dotted with links to tools, materials, glossary terms, and other treatments. Linked text is gray in color and turns red when the pointer encounters it.

Map Image

Table of


Creative Chronicler said...

This is really interesting. Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing the info.

aka Ursula D/Medievalgrrl from BBB

C. June (Casey) Wolf said...

You are very welcome, Ursula. It makes me want to roll up my sleeves and get binding!