Friday, November 6, 2009

Bookbinding History and Systems

By Craig Bevish

There are few hobbies or skills out there that combine the feeling of the white collar knowledge with the blue collar skills in the way that bookbinding does. Not only does this hobby or trade allow you to work with books (sometimes very old books if you're repairing), but bookbinding also forces you to become skilled with your hands in order to work the stitching or binding as needed.

Some people first get into bookbinding to repair old books that have damaged spines. Others start from scratch because they want to put something original together. Whatever the reason or the way, there are many ways for people to start out with bookbinding.

Many people self teach themselves when it comes to bookbinding. With a good guide or how to book, the proper bookbinding supplies, and a little bit of practice almost anyone can teach themselves over time to become a good bookbinder. Like many hobbies, it's all about practice.

Bookbinding has a long and proud history, one that starts all the way back in the 2nd century in Egypt. Coptic bookbinding was practiced by the Coptic Christians in the area, and involved making folds on individual parchments, then sewing through the folds in order to make a larger book. This type of bookbinding lasted nearly one thousand years.

After Coptic bookbinding came long stitch bookbinding. This method of binding books is actually quite popular and although it isn't one of the most common methods used today, it still sees plenty of use. Long stitch bookbinding involves using a slotted cover, which helps to bind the pages more tightly together without having to use nearly as much glue.

While it might not be what you think of when you normally think of bookbinding, spiral bookbinding might very well be the most used method in the world. This is the type of binding that takes place for spiral bound reports, school histories, or even local cookbooks. Also referred to sometimes as "plastic coil bookbinding."

There are many types of bookbinding, and different people may find different methods preferable. Do a little research, give it a try, and you might find that bookbinding is just the hobby you've been looking for!

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