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Coptic Binding


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#1 Lennart Wennberg

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 20:03

I've just finished my first handmade book, coptic binding, made of 36 standard sheets of A4 office paper 80 g/m2, pieces of cardboard and a single waxed linen thread. The book feels stable and can lay flat at any page, but it lacks finish and elegance.

Coptic Bindings 003.jpg

Edited by Lennart Wennberg, 25 July 2011 - 20:05.


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#2 sunsparkle

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 20:11

It is a very good start - elegance will come with training (as with everything) - rinse and repeat - and soon you will have very personal and valuable gifts to give away.

Cheers,

sunsparkle
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#3 txinsk

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 23:10

Excellent first attempt, mine was not too dissimilar. My cover boards were folded pieces of construction paper cardboard is sturdier. Part of making it better is to use better materials. It becomes better, just keep at it.

Rick
Need money for pens, must make good notebooks. :)

#4 jiraltan

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 07:26

When I saw the title I half expected this to be papyrus.

#5 jde

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 13:28

I've just finished my first handmade book, coptic binding, made of 36 standard sheets of A4 office paper 80 g/m2, pieces of cardboard and a single waxed linen thread. The book feels stable and can lay flat at any page, but it lacks finish and elegance.

Coptic Bindings 003.jpg


Very sturdy and utilitarian looking. Glad to hear it lays flat!
I'm in the midst of making my first handmade book using coptic binding.
 
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#6 Lennart Wennberg

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 13:38

It is a very good start - elegance will come with training (as with everything) - rinse and repeat - and soon you will have very personal and valuable gifts to give away.

Cheers,

sunsparkle


Thank you Sunsparkle,

yes that's exactly what I'm going to do, make these books as personal gifts!

Lennart

#7 Lennart Wennberg

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 15:54

Excellent first attempt, mine was not too dissimilar. My cover boards were folded pieces of construction paper cardboard is sturdier. Part of making it better is to use better materials. It becomes better, just keep at it.

Rick



Thank you Rick!

Here is a close-up picture of the spine.

Coptic Binding detail spine.jpg



#8 pkoko

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 03:12

Did you hole punch the paper to run the string/ stitches through it?
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#9 Lennart Wennberg

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 04:08

Did you hole punch the paper to run the string/ stitches through it?


First I made a jig out of a piece of cardboard and made the holes with an awl, both in the cover and in the signatures, (bunches of folded paper, in this case six signatures with six pieces of paper each => 144 pages).

In the future I'm planning to glue two pieces of cardboard together, to make a stiffer cover, and make the holes in the cover with a 2 mm punch.

Lennart


Coptic Binding Book I - flat.jpg

#10 Koshy

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 08:38

Fairly good attempt. I remember when we were small and there were seven kids studying in school, my Grand Father would buy good quality paper by the reams and call a local binder to make class notebooks of 80, 120 and 200 pages for the school. the 80 page books used to have covers made of Chart Paper, but the 120 and 200 page notebooks were bound like this, but with a calico strip pasted on the stiched side and thin paper with printed patterns covering the cardboard.
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#11 Moagy

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 10:37

Your work is beautifully neat and tidy! Like some of the others here I think the only thing which makes it less than elegant is the utilitarian quality of the boards, however I imagine that could easily be overcome by covering them in a pretty paper or fabric to disguise it.

I envy you your ability!
Calligraphy,” said Plato, “is the physical manifestation of an architecture of the soul.” That being so, mine must be a turf-and-wattle kind of soul, since my handwriting would be disowned by a backward cat’
Dr Stephen Maturin: The Commodore by Patrick O’Brian

#12 Lennart Wennberg

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 12:23

Fairly good attempt. I remember when we were small and there were seven kids studying in school, my Grand Father would buy good quality paper by the reams and call a local binder to make class notebooks of 80, 120 and 200 pages for the school. the 80 page books used to have covers made of Chart Paper, but the 120 and 200 page notebooks were bound like this, but with a calico strip pasted on the stiched side and thin paper with printed patterns covering the cardboard.




Thank you for sharing this wonderful memory of yours!

Lennart



#13 txinsk

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 16:47

Here is a question for you, when the book is closed do the covers seem to want to travel back towards the spine? It is hard to tell from the pictures but when you attach the covers there are two ways the needle passes from the inside to the outside or the needle goes around and passes outside to inside. It makes a difference. Inside to outside pulls the cover past the spine, whereas outside to inside keeps it in a better position. I can't quite tell and the difference is fairly cosmetic but significant. In that last open picture the right cover appears to be pulled back, but it is not a good position to tell. This is a simple tip that I figured out on my first trial when I did the first cover one way and the second cover the other way. It was quickly obvious that the direction matters. Something to keep in mind for future bindings.

Rick
Need money for pens, must make good notebooks. :)

#14 Lennart Wennberg

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 17:30

Here is a question for you, when the book is closed do the covers seem to want to travel back towards the spine? It is hard to tell from the pictures but when you attach the covers there are two ways the needle passes from the inside to the outside or the needle goes around and passes outside to inside. It makes a difference. Inside to outside pulls the cover past the spine, whereas outside to inside keeps it in a better position. I can't quite tell and the difference is fairly cosmetic but significant. In that last open picture the right cover appears to be pulled back, but it is not a good position to tell. This is a simple tip that I figured out on my first trial when I did the first cover one way and the second cover the other way. It was quickly obvious that the direction matters. Something to keep in mind for future bindings.

Rick


Rick,
When I made this first attempt I pretty much followed this video:



http://youtu.be/GM4iFrGSzlY

I've like you noticed that the covers retract some millimeters due to the sewing method itself, but in my book there is no difference between the two covers. Next time I will increase the width of the covers. Another method would be to make a clean cut in a cutting machine, which I don't have,

As has been noted. You can enhance the impression by putting on fancy paper on the covers.

Lennart


Edited by Lennart Wennberg, 29 July 2011 - 18:43.


#15 Lennart Wennberg

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 17:32

Your work is beautifully neat and tidy! Like some of the others here I think the only thing which makes it less than elegant is the utilitarian quality of the boards, however I imagine that could easily be overcome by covering them in a pretty paper or fabric to disguise it.

I envy you your ability!


Thank you for your kind words. The sewing was the easy and fun part of it. The main effort is to fold, cut and to make holes and wax the thread.

Lennart




#16 txinsk

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 21:38

Here is a question for you, when the book is closed do the covers seem to want to travel back towards the spine? It is hard to tell from the pictures but when you attach the covers there are two ways the needle passes from the inside to the outside or the needle goes around and passes outside to inside. It makes a difference. Inside to outside pulls the cover past the spine, whereas outside to inside keeps it in a better position. I can't quite tell and the difference is fairly cosmetic but significant. In that last open picture the right cover appears to be pulled back, but it is not a good position to tell. This is a simple tip that I figured out on my first trial when I did the first cover one way and the second cover the other way. It was quickly obvious that the direction matters. Something to keep in mind for future bindings.

Rick


Rick,
When I made this first attempt I pretty much followed this video:





I've like you noticed that the covers retract some millimeters due to the sewing method itself, but in my book there is no difference between the two covers. Next time I will increase the width of the covers. Another method would be to make a clean cut in a cutting machine, which I don't have,

As has been noted. You can enhance the impression by putting on fancy paper on the covers.

Lennart



Ah, I thought it was a double needle coptic like here. Yours is a single needle and I have not attached the cover that way.

Rick
Need money for pens, must make good notebooks. :)

#17 inquisicorp

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 14:47

Rick,
When I made this first attempt I pretty much followed this video:



I've like you noticed that the covers retract some millimeters due to the sewing method itself, but in my book there is no difference between the two covers. Next time I will increase the width of the covers. Another method would be to make a clean cut in a cutting machine, which I don't have,

As has been noted. You can enhance the impression by putting on fancy paper on the covers.

Lennart

Excellent and clear and well-done vid. Thank you for posting. It (and your comments herein) make me wanna try this!

About the folding part: Are there criteria that you use to decide which paper is appropriate and which isn't? Are there papers out there that won't play well with being folded and punctured like that? I am thinking of print paper like Stonehenge. Are there any tests you can do to pre-determine suitability?

Jan
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#18 Lennart Wennberg

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 18:17

Rick,
When I made this first attempt I pretty much followed this video:



Lennart


Excellent and clear and well-done vid. Thank you for posting. It (and your comments herein) make me wanna try this!

About the folding part: Are there criteria that you use to decide which paper is appropriate and which isn't? Are there papers out there that won't play well with being folded and punctured like that? I am thinking of print paper like Stonehenge. Are there any tests you can do to pre-determine suitability?

Jan


Jan,

First of all. I'm no expert in this. This is my first hastily done attempt!

Having said that, I chose paper based on two criteria:
  • Fountain pen friendliness (no feathering or bleed through with "normal use" of FP:s and ink.)
  • Availability
For this project I used our standard office paper at work; Lyreco Budget, which I'm satisfied with. (I've tried a Xerox paper and a paper called United Office but they were clearly inferior,) When my skill has increased it would be nice to make a book with Rhodia paper!

When it comes to folding I use a special piece of bone, in Swedish "falsben". I can imagine it's called folding-knife or folding-bone or something like this in English. This in order to make sharp folds without breaking the fibres in the paper and to spare fingers, nails and pens.

Lennart



#19 Moagy

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 10:11

Very close Lennart - it's called a bone folder in UK. Which conjures up all kinds of hideous images in my mind! (Mine isn't even made of bone, it's plastic! :roflmho: )
Calligraphy,” said Plato, “is the physical manifestation of an architecture of the soul.” That being so, mine must be a turf-and-wattle kind of soul, since my handwriting would be disowned by a backward cat’
Dr Stephen Maturin: The Commodore by Patrick O’Brian

#20 Lennart Wennberg

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 21:02

Since I started this thread more than four years ago has my technique developed a bit.

 

codex-1-006.jpg

 

I glue two layers of cardboard to increase the stiffness of the covers. I use real cloth, and an exclusive Italian paper inside the covers. The paper in the signatures is Clairefontaine Pollen Ivory 120 gm/m2 etc. Now I can give away my codices as personal gifts without embarrasement!

 

Lennart

 

http://lennartwennberg.com/tag/codex/ 








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