Books & Boxes

Last updated December 2, 2004

I'm afraid I haven't updated this portfolio in forever. I have some more work I need to photograph and put up, but until that happens, here's some of my older work, most of which I did while I was at the North Bennet Street School.

We started the year with a trio of non-adhesive binding projects. From left to right, they are: Four-needle Coptic with wood boards; Longstitch with Wrapper; and Historic Longstitch with paper cover and wood spine piece. They're called non-adhesive because (surprise!) they don't use any adhesives.

In recent years, the coptic binding has become quite popular. You can buy your own coptic binding kits from the Iowa Center for the Book.

A simple binding structure with a flat back, meaning that the spine has not been rounded. It's sewn using a link stitch on four sewing stations, using 35/3 thread. The spine is then lined with mull and paper, a case is made, and the book is cased in.

In a rounded back binding, the book block's spine is given a gently rounded shape, and shoulders are formed by knocking over the outer sections as part of the rounding and backing phase of forwarding. Our model sized books are sewn on linen tape or frayed cords using 25/3 thread. Headbands are usually added, either machine made or hand-sewn using silk thread.

We've studied two ways of making rounded back books: The case binding, in which a case is build separately and attached to the book block ("cased in") or the Bradel (or "onset board") binding, in which the boards are attached to the tapes and mull first, then the book is covered with cloth afterward.


Both case and Bradel bindings can be covered with decorative paper as well as cloth. When a book is given a cloth spine and corners, it's known as a half cloth binding.

Both of these examles are model sized (115x155mm), and include sewn headbands.


Quarter cloth bindings are just like half cloth bindings, but without the cloth corners.

(By the way, full, half, and quarter bindings can be done with leather, as well. We just haven't quite gotten there yet. We'll start quarter-leather bindings in April.)

The book on the left has stippled black pastepaper sides, and the endbands have been sewn with 35/3 linen thread instead of silk thread.


This book is a bit different. It's an historical model of a 16th century Swedish binding, sewn on sunken (sawn-in) cords with hooked endpapers, and covered with black stippled pastepaper. We used hide glue for rounding and backing, and applied the cover material with paste.

But wait, there's more coming! Boxes, four-flaps with cases, and repairs will all be added shortly!

All page design and content copyright 2002 by Seth Morabito. Comments are copyright by their original posters and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of moi, el Presidente del Republico Seth.