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Glossary of Bookbinding Terms

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A style of binding featuring leafy sprays and interlaces bounded by a single gold line on one side and a double gold line on the other.
A chemical such as china clay or starch, added to paper and cloth to bulk it out. When added to paper it also makes it whiter and more receptive to high polishing for fine printing. See also filling in.
filling in
The operation of filling in the space on the inside of the front or back board left uncovered by the cloth or covering material with pulp or manilla card. This levels the surfaces so that the endpapers lie flat, and is called a filler.
A continuous plain line produced by a wheel-shaped finishing tool of the same name.
The second of two principal processes involved in binding a book: the titling, decoration and polishing of the cover. See also forwarding.
flexible style
A style of binding in which the sections are sewn onto lengths of twisted pigskin or hemp cord (known as bands) placed across and on the outside of the sections. The ends of these are called slips and are laced into the boards. The binding has a tight back.
flush binding
A binding whose cover is the same size as the sections.
fly leaf
See endpapers.
fold to paper
Folding sections by machine (and occasionally by hand) by lining up the edges of the paper.
fold to print
When the printed type is out of square with the edge of the sheet, lining up the top line of type at each fold so that the margins are even. This applies only to hand folding.
1. A sheet of paper in one of the traditional sizes, folded once to give two leaves. 2. A book made of such sheets, i.e. the largest format possible in that particular size.
The front edge of a book, opposite the spine. So called because this edge originally faced outward from the shelves and the title was painted, inked or scorched on the edges of the leaves.
foredge painting
The painting of the front edge of a book, where the page block is fanned and an image is applied to the stepped surface of the page edges. If the page edges are themselves gilded this then results in the image disappearing when the book is closed again. See also foredge and edge gilding.
The first of the two principal processes involved in bookbinding: the production of the binding itself. See also finishing.
French groove
In the library style, the groove down the edge of the spine, between the joint and the board. Its function is to enable the thick leather used in this binding style to fold more easily at the hinge.
French sewing
The sewing together of two or more sections without tapes. Each section is linked to the rest by catching up the loops of thread of the preceding section.
The illustration facing the title page of a book.
full binding
See whole binding.
Anything attached to the boards, e.g. clasps, metal cornerpieces, bosses.
Collecting the sections or sheets together in the correct sequence to make up a complete book.
Decorating the edges of a book, usually gilded, by using heated finishing tools or rolls which indent small repeat patterns. See also edge gilding.
See edge gilding.
A book with covering material extended at the top to enable it to be hooked to a belt.
glaire, glair
A preparation of white of egg or shellac used to fix the gold leaf in tooling and edge gilding.
gold foil
Gold (or gold substitute) sprayed electronically onto a plastic, paper or cellophane backing. Used industrially for the titling of mass-produced books and by the craft binder for economical bindings.
gold leaf
An alloy of 22 carats gold and 2 carats silver, beaten by machine to a thinness of 1/250,000 of an inch (.0000025 cm) and used for titling and decorating books.
gold tooling
A method of book decoration involving the impressing of heated tools through gold leaf into the leather or cloth.
grain (direction), machine direction
The orientation of the fibres in paper and board, or of the warp thread in cloth. The grain must always run from head to tail of the book.
Greek style
A style of decoration used particularly in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries on the bindings of classical Greek texts, characterised by the extension of the spine leather at head and tail to protect double endbands, also use of grooved wooden boards and four clasps of plaited leather catching onto pins.
Grams per square metre. The standard measurement used for weighing paper and board.
guard book
A type of binding, e.g. a photograph album, in which the spine is bulked out by the addition of narrow strips or folds of paper so that it is the right size when photographs or other inserts are added.
guards, guarding
1. Strips of paper or cloth pasted or glued to the back folds of sections, or to single diagrams or maps, for their repair or reinforcement. 2. Narrow folds or strips of paper or card used in guard books.
half binding
An economical covering style in which the spine and corners, or spine and foredge strips, are covered with a good material (e.g. leather) and the remainder with a cheaper one (e.g. cloth).
half-title page, half-title
The recto of the first or second leaf of a book, on which is printed the brief title.
See azured.
The top edge of a binding or page.
A true headband consists of coloured threads entwined tightly round a core of vellum backed with leather, and is sewn through the sections, filling the gap at the spine between the top or bottom of the section and the edges of the boards. It thus helps to prevent the sections collapsing through the effect of gravity, and also serves to lessen the damage done when the book is pulled off the shelf by its headcap. Imitation headbands, which are purely decorative, are merely stuck to the back folds of the sections. The band at the tail of the book is sometimes called the tailband, and both head and tailbands are collectively referred to as endbands.
In leather bindings, a shaped and modelled turn-in over the top and bottom of the spine.
A paper tube stuck to the spine of a book, to which the covering material is attached. The resulting hollow back allows a freer opening for sections of stiff paper, or for books in which entries are to be made, and allows books bound in stiff material such as vellum and buckram to open more freely.
hot pressed
Paper which is glazed (rather than surfaced) by being pressed when dry between hot, polished metal plates. Used for writing and fine printing paper. See also 'not' and 'rough'.
The method of arranging the pages of the book so that they are in the correct sequence when the sheet is printed and folded.
inner joint
The inside hinge of the cover, made of the fold of the endpapers and sometimes cloth or leather. See also joint.
Additional matter placed within a book or pamphlet without being permanently fixed (e.g. a diagram in a pocket at the end of a book).
(To fix) additional matter within a book by sewing or sticking, e.g. an illustration plate within the text.

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