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Glossary of Bookbinding Terms

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White cotton cloth, open or closely woven according to quality, which is stiffened with a starch filler to facilitate handling and prevent the penetration of glue. Used for strengthening sections, maps, endpapers, spines and the hinges of books.
See knock up.
joint, shoulder
The right-angled groove formed in the back folds of the sections, into which the cover boards are placed.
See cerf.
kettle stitch, catch stitch
A catch stitch or knot made at the end of each section to join it to the preceding one. (From the German word ketteln, 'to pick up stitches'.)
knock up (US: jog)
To tap the sections or sheets at the spine and head so that they lie evenly and squarely. It is an important part of many binding operations, especially before cutting the edges.
A strong, brown wrapping paper used as a second lining to reinforce the spine of a book. It is also used for making the hollow.
laid (paper)
Handmade paper showing parallel wire marks about 25 mm apart in one direction, with close-set wire marks in the other. These marks are caused by the sieve operated by the paper maker. The pattern can be imitated on machine-made papers by means of the Dandy roller.
Two or more materials stuck together in layers.
leather cloth
See rexine.
library style
A utility binding developed around the beginning of the twentieth century, when the public library system became widespread. It incorporated innovations and structural differences that give strength and durability, such as sewn-on tapes, reinforced endpapers and a thick leather cover. It normally has a tight back, and its main feature is the French groove.
limp binding
A soft cover, very often with both squares extending over half the thickness of the book, thus enclosing the edges of the pages. Bibles are often limp bound.
1. Pieces of strong paper pasted to the inside of boards to prevent their being warped by the covering material. 2. The two pieces of material which are used to strengthen the spine, the first being of mull and the second of Kraft.
loaded stick
A piece of wood 250 x 25 x 25 mm, with a piece of lead attached to one end and bound with leather. It is used to beat down the swell in the backs of sections while sewing.
In paper making, the addition of kaolin or similar substances to the pulp at the mixer stage, to give opacity and a receptive surface for printing.
loose-leaf binding
A binding made up of single sheets of paper or other material, with or without holes punched or slots cut in the back margins, and held together by thongs, cords, posts, rings, wire spirals, plastic combs, bars or spring mechanisms.
machine-finished paper (m/f)
Paper as it leaves the machine without further surface treatment.
Two or more pieces of laminated paper or board, often used to refer to laminated endpapers.
marbled paper
Paper with a decorative, marble-like appearance, obtained by laying it onto a viscous liquid so that it picks up colours floating on the surface.
mechanical wood paper
Wood (usually pinus radiata in New Zealand) which is ground to pulp by machine and then made into paper. As it contains many impurities, it soon deteriorates and is used only for ephemeral printing.
Fine leather made from goatskin, and tanned with oak bark or sumach.
mould-made paper
Paper made on a machine in separate sheets. It is usually of good quality.
Binding decorated with intricate Islamic style designs featuring interlaces, knots and punch work. Initially practised by Christianised Moors (Mudejars) in fifteenth-century Spain.
mull, super
An open-weave cotton cloth stiffened with starch to facilitate handling. It is used as the first lining on the spine.
A groove cut in the shank of a decorative finishing tool, handle letter (or type) to assist in accurate placing on the book cover or spine.
'not' (not glazed)
Handmade paper with a slightly uneven surface imparted to it by being pressed when wet between fine felt mats, or 'blankets'. Used in fine printing and drawing.
A sheet of paper of any traditional size, folded three times to make a section of eight leaves.
old groove
The groove remaining in the back edges of the folded sections after a book has been taken apart. This must be flattened or 'knocked out' with a hammer before rebinding.
A method of decorating a book bound in leather by pasting pieces of leather, often of different colours, directly onto the leather cover, and tooling the edges to bind them down.
opening a book
Easing the stiffness out of a newly bound book.
outer joint
The flexible part of the covering material (leather, cloth or paper) on which the board opens. See also joint.
overcasting, oversewing
Reinforcing a section, or joining a number of single sheets together, by sewing through the back margin. Often used to reinforce first and last sections.
See squares.
See turn-in.

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