Saturday, February 4, 2017

Practicing and Teaching Endbands

For practicing and teaching endbands, I first started out with little sewn textblocks, then chopped up telephone books (remember those) or directories, then thought to myself "why not wrap a core in gauze/super and sandwich between two boards..." That worked great, but just preparing the things was a pain. Eventually discovered coroplast making things perfectly easy.

Donia's and my poster from the Guild of Book Workers' 2003
Standards of Excellence conference in Denver, CO.

For a book artist's take on this, and really what inspired me to keep them as a strip on the card, see this example by Susan Joy Share from the Guild of Book Workers' 100th anniversary exhibition. This was part of a series and I am glad to call one my own.

The images below were largely drawn from a poster I did with Donia Conn for the Guild of Book Workers' Standards conference. Our bibliography for endbands is at My favorite sources are for great diagrams:
  • Gast, Monica,  A History of Endbands Based on a Study by Karl Jäckel.  The New Bookbinder.  Vol. 3, pp. 42-58, 1983.
  • Guiffrida, Barbara, Book Conservation Workshop Manual Part Three: Endbands.  The New Bookbinder.  Vol. 2, pp. 29-39, 1982.
  • Jäckel, Karl, Alte Techniken des Buchbinderhandwerks in der modernen Schriftgutrestaurierung, 2: Das Kapital. [The Endband.] Bibliotheksforum Bayern. Vol. 3, pp. 207-219, 1975. 

Rodrigo Ortega (?) also has a very nicely presented gallery at

Because it doesn't always have to be hand-sewn... Hand-made stuck on endbands can look great, especially on smaller/thinner books. Below an assortment all wrapped around 18/3 linen thread, a nice thickness. Materials include leather, cloth, and decorated papers...

Stuck-on endbands

For those teaching endband workshops or needing something bigger to conceptualize the process, I developed the demonstrator below with my brother who's a woodworker. Big dowl is 1" dia... Using thinner "climbers" rope in two colors. The idea came from workshop attendee who didn't want to get to close, he liked being in the back row, but still wanted to see. Normally not an enabler in those circumstances, but the idea was brilliant. Brother made three, I kept one, one for Donia, and I sent one to the one whose idea it was...

Getting teaching tool set up.

Core dropped on teaching tool.

Finished 2-core endband.

Endview of teaching tool.

For a wooden boards binding of an Icelandic saga, hand copied by the client. Textblock had originally been oversewn and library-bound. He decided he wanted something nicer... Made the clasps, too. The endband I first learned at the Centro del bel Libro in Ascona, CH after diagrams by Karl Jäckel.

Primary endband.

Braided leather added after covering.

The clasps I made.

Finished book in box.