Lexicon of Bookbinding

All the important terms from A to Z

| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Z
  • Securing the leaves of a single section by sewing with thread or inserting wire through the back fold.

  • Type unornamented with serifs. Sometimes also grotesque or gothic. (French: 'without serifs'.)

  • The sealis a form of certification of documents or secure (lock) the integrity of objects or containers (envelope, door) using a seal stamped in a soft curable mass (Siegel lump of wax, wax, early sound, etc.) is pressed.

  • A group of folded sheets, usually comprising 4, 8,12,16 or 32 pages, which together make up a complete book.

  • An heraldic term used to describe a background of scattered small tooled motifs.

  • A small 'finishing' line used to embellish roman forms of printed type or other lettering. An early attempt to mimic the effect of hand lettering with a broad-tipped quill. (Dutch: Schreef, 'fine line in writing'.)

  • Fixing the shape of a book's spine permanently, by first pressing it in good shape and applying a thick layer of paste to the spine. In five minutes the paste is scraped to clean off the old glue and the book left to dry, when the shape of the spine is permanently set.

  • A binding made up of sections sewn together. See also adhesive binding.

  • The sewn sections that make up the text of the book.

  • See joint.

  • Securing sections or a number of single sheets together by sewing with thread or inserting wire through the back margins.

  • In quarter or half bindings, covering the remainder of the exposed boards with cloth or paper after the leather or cloth has been attached.

  • A printed letter or number usually placed at the bottom of the first page of each folded section to assist in the collation of the book.

  • One in which the craftsman's name is displayed either by tooling in gold or blind, ink stamping on the end-leaves, or pasting in a printed trade label.

  • A solution of animal gelatin or resin added to paper to improve its permanence, strength, resistance to moisture, and to make it impervious to the penetration of writing and printing ink. See also engine sizing, tub sizing.

  • Acardboard slipcase or protection is a five-sided closed protective container in which to fit one or more books, magazines, brochures or similar store. In a slipcase, a book is inserted in such a way that only the spine is visible. Thus the book is protected from the outside, but the title on the spine can be read.

  • Strips of thin vellum used as sewing supports. Often visible on the front covers of vellum bindings.

  • A style of binding frequently used on devotional works, featuring blind tooling on black leather.

  • A strip of board used to separate the two boards to a desired measurement when making case bindings; it is removed when the covering material is turned in.

  • The part of the cover which wraps over the back of the book.

  • A board made up of one piece of millboard and one of strawboard, laminated together save for a slit to contain the flange of tapes and waste sheet. It is one of the constructional features of the library style.

  • The space between the boards or covers of a book and the sections. Their size is dependent on the size, use and binding style of the book. Although the squares protect the leaves, they should not be too large, for the covers must themselves be supported by the leaves.

  • Securing a large number of single sheets together by driving metal staples more than half way through the back margins, from both sides.

  • Engraved or cast dies used to impress decorative motifs. Traditionally the term "stamp" has been used when describing early (e.g. fifteenth- and sixteenth-century) bindings, and "tool" when referring to bindings of the later period.

  • A large, heavy floor-standing press, capable of exerting great pressure.

  • The projection at the foredge of one leaf or section beyond the others. It is usually caused by poor sewing and very thick sections.

  • Used for binding blank-leaved books intended to be written in, e.g. ledgers, account books. Frequently bound in vellum.

  • One piece of paper attached by adhesive to another to increase its substance and strength. The made endpaper is an example.

  • In a case binding, a strip of paper or thin card, cut to the width of the spine, placed between the boards and glued onto the covering material to stiffen or strengthen the spine cloth.

  • See baste

  • The thickness and weight of paper, expressed in gsm (grams per square metre).

  • A style of binding in which the sections are sewn onto lengths of hemp cord that are recessed into the backs of the sections. The ends are called slips and are laced into the boards. The binding may be tight or hollow backed and the spine left smooth or with false bands, See also bands, flexible style.

  • See mull.

  • The additional thickness in the sewn folds of the sections, caused by the sewing thread and any repair paper.

Letter s