Last week I wrote about paper grain and its importance for creating handmade books. This week, let’s take it a step further and talk about the pages inside your books. Watch the video and/or read the tips below:
First of all, let me give you some bookbinding terms that you might come across:
- a single sheet of paper is called a FOLIO
- a collection of folded folios is a SECTION or SIGNATURE
- a stack of signatures forms a TEXT BLOCK
Here are some tips to help you make great looking book pages:
- Make sure the grain of the paper in your signatures runs parallel to the book’s spine.
- When using thicker the paper use less folios in your signatures and conversely, when using thinner paper, include more folios in your signatures.
- Stack the folios and fold as ONE UNIT into the signature. Do not fold them individually and then assemble the signature.
- Press the folded signatures under weights for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- When trimming the fore edge overhang:
- Always use a sharp knife, metal ruler and self healing cutting mat.
- Measure the fore edge in 3 places before trimming the overhang.
- Make several shallow cuts rather than one heavy cut.
- If you need to trim all sides of the signature, trim the head (top), fore edge (side) and tail (bottom) in that order.
- If you want to achieve a deckled edge that mimics handmade paper, tear it against a tear bar, which is a long, heavy piece of beveled metal, usually made from stainless steel. Alternatively, fold the paper and slit with a slightly blunted knife or paper knife.
If you want help deciding what papers to use in your handmade books, check out my 10 Favorite Papers pdf below.