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Paper is an important part of the book, therefore depending upon the use of the book the corresponding quality of paper should be used. In building books I like to make two books at the same time. The first being the one hopefully where I make mistakes and improve upon the 2nd book. I have not bound many books lately so am rusty. My last trip to Victoria I retrieved bookbinding supplies from my storage locker so am aiming to do more binding.

The grain of the paper is important. You want the grain running up and down the length of the book. Same with the book board used. When paper dries the glue (for paste downs) will have a strong pull in the direction of the grain, as well paper expansion goes across the grain so ugly cross-grain creases occur. To minimize warpage you need to be aware of the grain!

I have folded the sigatures and endpapers and they are currently under weight. I will let them sit over night so that they will be ready for sewing tomorrow!


For the end sheets (aka flypaper and pastedowns) I am using some nice white archival cotton paper usually used for drawing or calligraphy, I believe its around 140g/m2 and has some nice watermarks . Cutting these sheets down you try and preserve the watermarks. I have used two different papers for this, one for each book because I am trying to use up the tons of paper I have on hand. Okay, pounds.

The end sheets are important to hold the textblock in the book. Therefore this paper is typically more durable then the textblock. This is only a concern if the book will be used often; opening & closing a book will put strain on the hinge and eventually separate the cover from the textblock.

Marbled Endpaper

On a trip to Venice Hai bought some gorgeous marbled paper that he gave me. I will use this to cover up the pastedown, cheating a little but thats okay.


Textblock is the main part of the book, the pages of the book, in this case it is all blank pages. There used to be a good selection of legal sized paper (14"x8.5") that I could use for textblock but all I could find was 75g/m2 at a local paper store. I prefer 90g/m2 something like a cotton and hemp mix (no tree fibre) which has a great feel and is very durable. I do not have time to special order the full sheets (something like 30"x20") and cut them down. I am using acid free 60% recycled light yellow paper. White paper is often quite harsh and I prefer a little colour. Its not the yellow I like but its not bad.

I will be folding four sheets into a signature and will have 8 signatures per book. I will make two books. A picture of the folded sigs are here.

Near the end of the construction I realized that the thickness of the leather pushed out (the sin of not paring leather now hits) the textblock to the foredge so I had to trim it. This has to be done carefully as the foredge is quite visiable and screwing it up will be obvious and cannot be hid! August 28, 2009.