A simple aid for case-making

A binder’s life is not all fine leather, gold and double headbands. Simple cloth cases are frequently called for, and occasionally a run of 20-odd is required. The operation of turning-in the cloth at head, tail and sides needs to be neat and if done with the fingers can leave little pockets of air at the edges, and marking on the cloth. Consistently neat, quick and clean results are achieved by using a simple folding aid.

It comprises a strip of thin plywood about 30 inches long and four inches wide, with a strip of strong buckram bookcloth (grain along the long edge) glued under one edge. Then a length of thick dowel (curtain pole works well) is tacked onto the other edge of the bookcloth.

Place the case on the plywood strip with the top edge of the greyboard in line with the edge of the plywood. Put waste paper under the cloth to be folded over and glue it.

Take the waste paper out, hold the case down with one hand and pull the dowel firmly forward with the other hand.

Rub down through the buckram. Turn the bookcloth back.

Perfectly turned edge – no airpockets and no marking to the case cloth.

Repeat on other edges. I find that it cuts the time to turn all four edges by half.

2 thoughts on “A simple aid for case-making

  1. Thanks for this interesting technique Chris. It looks particularly useful when binding wider books, especially where they can be some misbehaviour by the cover material once glued, and speed is helpful. While I always use a folding guide of some kind when applying a tissue guard to the spine of folios under repair, I hadn’t thought of doing it when covering a case.

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