Saturday 22 December 2012

Making Sketchbooks: Sewing up my Japanese Binding

I was too excited to leave my half-finished sketchbooks waiting for long. On Tuesday afternoon, as soon as I got back from Nottingham, I got stuck in. 

It has been a very long while since I did the last one, so I needed to remind myself on YouTube of how to do it. I used this very handy little film by Peter Baumgartner, although I simplified the decorative corners, as my books are smaller and couldn't take that many holes.

I also don't have the proper twine. I ordered some, but accidentally got regular book-binder's thread, which is of course very thin. So I have been improvising with regular string, which seems to work fine. 

One problem though: it's hard to get the invisible Japanese knot finish with string. You're supposed to gently pull the final knot into one of the holes, but my string was too thick and, try as I might, I couldn't get it to go in. 

I did my brick-red sketchbook first and that was the worst, because I used the string as it came, in 6-ply, which was way too thick. Then I remembered that, when I did the test one in the summer, I split the string. I did the other two with 3-ply, which is not as strong, but seems OK. The knot still refused to go right into the hole, but I managed to tug it in half way, so you don't really notice!

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