Three Case Styles for Three Book­bind­ings with Priscilla Spitler – Day 3

Today’s class with Priscilla started with rounding and backing the text block for our half cloth case binding. This part of the process was a bit of a blur and happened too fast for me to really get a handle on it.

You glue up the spine of the text block and while it’s still tacky, you start rounding. The text should be flat on a table with the spine facing away from you. Lightly hammer with a repeating motion from the middle of the spine, outward. Work your way from one end of the spine to the other, then flip the text block over and repeat the process. You’re trying to give a slight round to the spine.

Next, you want to create a shoulder, which should be no bigger than the thickness of your boards. Priscilla advised that, “The book will dictate to you what kind of board it wants.” Put the text block in a backing press with the spine edge raised out a bit. Roll over the signatures with your thumb and fan them out, creating the shoulder. Roll over the spine with a bone folder from the center of the spine to each side. Lastly, lightly tap on the spine with a backing hammer.


The spine of the text block was then lined with Cambric, which was worked into the shoulder. We measured the width of our text blocks and cut headbands, which were rounded slightly using a bone folder. These were then glued to the spine.

Next, we cut two spine liners – one which would be used as infill in between the headbands and the other cut slightly shorter than the text block. The infill was glued down first, followed by the longer spine liner.

We glued out a piece of bookcloth and attached our spine and cover boards. Then we did something I’d never seen before – we rolled the spine over a dowel to curve it.



We glued bookcloth on to the corners of our covers using corner jigs to help us place them. If it isn’t clear by now, we used a lot of pre-made jigs in class. They really moved things along and you could see how they’d be helpful in speeding up edition work. Priscilla gave us an awesome handout detailing the different jigs – I definitely have to make me some.


We infilled the front covers…


…then glued on the cover paper using another jig for placement.


The paper overlaps the bookcloth by 1/16″. If you use a patterned paper, make sure that the pattern lines up when you glue the paper to each side of the case. This would be an unfortunate (and easy) place to mess up. The paste papers we used in the class were made by Priscilla. Is there anything she can’t do?


I haven’t yet mentioned that all of the gluing wasn’t done with fancy glue brushes. We used plastic/foam roller thingies instead. They were useful in gluing things out quickly. Another great efficiency tip from Priscilla.


Another useful tip – when gluing things down, mark the ends of your paper and your board with an X and O so they match up – that way you won’t mix up which end goes where. This is especially important when doing infills.


The last thing we did today was counterfill the inside of our covers.


Tomorrow I’ll case in the book!

2 Responses to “Three Case Styles for Three Book­bind­ings with Priscilla Spitler – Day 3”

By dorsey hogg - 4 June 2014 Reply

Beautiful work! Foam rollers make sense- I bet the glue is applied more evenly and quickly than with a brush.

By Elissa - 5 June 2014 Reply

Dorsey –

Thanks! I loved the glue rollers – cheap, yet effective.


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