France France France … here I come … even twice this week 🙂 Lille is on my agenda for Tuesday and Paris for the weekend … could be worse 🙂 So with France in my head, today a binding method called Franse Binding (French Binding) in Dutch. The exact English verb is not easy to find, perhaps Fine Binding – if someone can help me with it …..?
The Fine Binding method has been in use since the 18th century. For bookbinders this is one of the most beautiful ways to create a book. You can recognize this method by the spine cover, which is not attached to the spine and the visible lack of the board edge. If there are raised bands, they are most of the time false, the headband, on the other hand, is always hand embroidered, so not false at all.
The advantage of the unattached spine cover is that the precious decoration of the spine – usually gold leaf – is protected, because the spine cover doesn’t move when one opens the book and therefore it will keep its shape.
A lot of bookbinding skills are required to make a beautiful correct Fine Binding. Somewhere at the internet I read that an experienced bookbinder works for at least twelve hours at this binding. The steps in making such a book are:
– folding the sections and endpapers
– glue, trim, round, abpress and glue the book block
– creating the covers
– board lacing
– embroider headband
– prepare the cover material
– tie up for the fake raised bands
– apply flush joint
As you can see making such a book is a lot of work and therefore almost priceless. Since we don’t have the habit of using gold leaf at the covers and spines of our books, one of the biggest advantages of the Fine Binding became superfluous. Of course it is fun to maintain the craft is this bookbinding method, so I made one … once .. but learned a lot of it and I can use some of the tricks a learned for other books or possible new ways to bind books …