HOW TO PIERCE SIGNATURES ( OF TOMOE RIVER PAPER )
To those of you trying out bookbinding ...
I am sharing here my experience with handling TR paper as I craft my journals in this particular type of binding.
TR paper is very thin - at only 52g.
Its also ultra smooth.
Because its so thin, it creases easily.
The less you handle it, the less it gets creased.
The example here is A5 size journal.
Meaning the TR paper is an exact A4 size (not the slight larger version) .
It is folded over once , to get an A5 size folio.
In this pic, you see an example of an A5 journal being pierced.
This is my DIY homemade piercing cradle.
Its made out of cardboard.
I punch out the rounded corners first, BEFORE folding the Signature.
My Signatures are 10 sheets of TR paper.
So I take 10 sheets of TR paper,
then holding the 10 sheets firmly, I punch out the rounded corners at one go.
Punching with TR paper also requires some attention to the technique.
Becos TR paper is very smooth, one of the common handling problems is that the sheets of paper tend to slide over each other ever so easily.
This slipping and sliding is the bane of many flaws / defects that you sometimes encounter as you progress thru the several stages of bookbinding.
Maybe next time I will explain in a separate post how to punch out rounded corners.
here is one Signature (already folded crisply with a bonefolder) laid into position on my DIY piercing cradle.
After laying it on the cradle in position, make a final check to see if all sheets are aligned perfectly.
Then I use some clips and clip the entire signature in position.
Clip on both sides.
Clip the Signature to the Cradle.
This way , the TR paper has no chance to slide out of position.
(they slide VERY easily)
I also glue a strip of rubber on the jaws of the clips to prevent any damage from marring the paper.
Next, I lay the piercing jig (also DIY) into position.
This paper jig is pushed snugly into the valley.
Here are my piercing jigs, each for a different size of journal.
It is a jig to guide the piercing of the sewing stations.
Each hole is small - nowadays , I ensure that the hole is no larger than the stitching needle that I will be using to stitch later.
Small holes translate into higher accuracy.
Large holes allow the Signature to move out of alignment from its adjacent Signatures.
( Imagine stitching with dental floss - yes its possible - its very thin thread in an oversized hole - so there's a lot of room to move out of alignment.)
Each Signature has 8 holes X 7 Signatures = 56holes - and that is how many times the stations are pierced.
Each set of 7 holes has to line up nicely across the spine.
Becos when holes are lined up perfectly, you get a nicer stitch pattern in the end.
The advantage of using a paper jig is that your piercing will become a lot more accurate.
With a paper jig as your guide, every Signature is pierced in the exact same position.
The benefits of taking care at this stage will become apparent at the final stage after you have completed stitching.
There will be an overall perceptible neatness, in the alignment of the stitches.
Also, the head of the spine will look more aligned - as the signatures stand shoulder to shoulder.
Next , I pierce using a sharp large needle that is about the same diameter of my stitching needle.
Here the needle is held in a handheld vise for holding tiny drillbits (usually for hobby crafting)
There is a blue piece of plastic which I lay there to prevent contact between my fingers and the paper.
This humble piece of plastic is a very useful tool thruout the journal crafting. it is used to prevent fingernail marks during some stages where you need to handle the paper/flyleaves/ etc in a certain way.
Pierce straight downwards.
Always pierce in the same fashion thruout all signatures., same orientation to your lightsource.
(your lightsource casts shadows and if you turn the cradle this way and that, your piercing accuracy is also affected, even though very slight. )
The jig that I am using is only 4 holed even though 8 holes are needed on one Signature.
This is intentional.
I am piercing only 4 holes one way, so that I turn the signature upside down and pierce the other 4 holes - same manner.
Again, the reason is to achieve symmetry along the entire spine.
The 4 holes are the exact same distance away from each end of the book.
Here , the Signature is turned upside down in preparation to pierce the remaining 4 holes.
Always return the completed Signature to the same rightside up position to the bookblock.
In essence, the reason for the techniques I employ , is to keep tolerances to a minimum at every stage of bookbinding.
All these patient efforts will contribute to a satisfying end result.