A recent project has given me the opportunity to get back into some book binding. As a gift for friend I put together a cookbook of recipes gathered from friends and family. Each section of the book is dedicated to photos, anecdotes and a collection of recipes from a different contributor.

When I first put together the book I ran into a bit of a problem. Imposition.
When you design a book that is meant to be bound in signatures the pages need to be re-ordered (imposed) so that the correct pages will be in he correct order when the pages are nested into multiple signatures. I have yet to find a suitable free software that will do this. Likewise, I haven’t met a local printer who can do this from a single document. Printers have no problem printing a saddle stitch booklet – but they cannot in their software specify the amount of signatures ( I could divide up the document into multiple smaller documents but it would end up being like 10 documents which is a PITA). This book was over 40 pages, so I did NOT want to impose it by hand and risk having to pay to re-print it.

Instead, I decided to try out a single page binding method. I added a blank page at the start and had each spread printed on one side of a sheet, then I folded the sheets into single pages – with the fold being on the fore edge.

I won’t go into the specifics of the binding itself, there are so many great videos (like this one) on it which explain it better. Instead I’ll just show a bit of the process.

Here is me gathering materials and cutting book board.

Here is me setting up a jig and punching each of the sheets.

And Finally, the binding. This style of binding requires 6 needles, so it is VERY easy to tangle everything if you don’t keep your thread short enough. You don’t need extremely long thread for this style of binding either. You’re definitely better off tying on new thread then suffering like I did the first time I did with this binding by using ridiculously long thread and having to string it halfway across the room.

The binding on this does end up really textural and beautiful. One of the primary features is that the book will lay open completely flat. It’s a really lovely binding similar to coptic stitch which I’m sure I will try again.

Here are some final shots of the book and design:

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