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Author Topic: Coptic Binding and size  (Read 1738 times)
Seth M. Drebitko
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« on: March 20, 2006, 06:01:00 AM »

Hello all Ihave been playing around with the idea of self binding my books using the coptic sewing method as it produces some very wonderful results. If you have not heard of it check this site out for some info  http://www.papierdesign.de/cd_kopt_engl.html.

Any way I have read through some stuff and it is suggested that you bind at most 8 signatures ( 4 sheets 8 total pages). My question is does any one know how badly the quality of the book? If the quality is badly compirmised are their other ways to perfom the coptic sewing method or at least a way that will look the same?
Any information on the subject helps,
regards seth.
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MatrixGamer
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2006, 01:57:03 PM »

Seth

Hand sewing is certainly something you can do but before you jump in with both feet consider how much time it will take. If you're willing to dedicate some hours to learning you can make a nice book - but it will take months of practice to make something sellable.

You mention signatures/folios. If I take a single sheet of paper and fold it in the middle I have a four page signature. Add a second sheet and it is eight pages, then twelve, then sixteen. I use sixteen page ones myself. Clamp a books worth between two boards and use a saw to cut the sewing holes in the back of the paper. Then sew the book up.

Sounds great, right... Well the job is far from over. Sewing is an important step but only one step.

Here is a run down of all the steps of making a book.

Write it.
Lay it out.
Print the pages.
Collate and fold signatures.
Sew the signatures.
Paste on end papers.
Clamp and glue spine.
Trim the book.
Print covers.
Varnish or laminate covers
Cut binders board for front and back covers.
Paste binders board to cover sheets.
Fold over edges to complete hard back cases.
Glue book block into the case at the spine to make a hinge.
Paste end papers to the back side of the cover.

Many of these steps require clamping and drying time. You will note how many steps there were after the sewing stage. I do a lot of this kind of work by hand so it can be done but it is now really my hobby more than game playing or making is.

I encourage you to learn this art. It has been on the upswing for the last thirty years. I think that art binding in games is a natural step. The trouble is that game consumers don't think of their games as art - they like slick more.

The real up side to all this though is that your books will laster for freaking every and have a very long half life in the used book trade. This can not be said for most perfect bound games. They are around (I see them at Half Price Books) but even stuff ten years old is not doing great and older is worse.

If you want to learn I'll gladly conslut with you on your experiments in binding. I learn something new every day.

Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
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Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2006, 01:34:36 PM »

I have read through some stuff and it is suggested that you bind at most 8 signatures ( 4 sheets 8 total pages). My question is does any one know how badly the quality of the book? If the quality is badly compirmised are their other ways to perfom the coptic sewing method or at least a way that will look the same?

I'm sorry, Seth, are you asking what happens to the quality if you bind more than eight signatures?
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Seth M. Drebitko
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2006, 04:24:32 AM »

Quote
I'm sorry, Seth, are you asking what happens to the quality if you bind more than eight signatures?
Yes I was wondering about the wuality after 8 signatures were added sorry for any confusion.
Regards, seth
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MatrixGamer
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2006, 05:26:37 AM »

The more sheets you have in a section/signature the bigger the page creep. The pages of a booklet form a point when folded. This makes your text shift closer and closer to the trimmed edge. Get more than 8 sheets (a 32 page section) and the shift becomes noticeable. Most books stick with 16 page sections. The other reason is that when books are sewn the spine edge of one signature has to be tight against the next signature. The more pages and the more rounded the spine becomes which will leave either a noticeable gap between sections (a really ugly flaw) or a book spine that will tend to splay open because pulling the threads tight makes the spin round. Put enough signatures together that way and they will splay so much that the pages stick out in all directions with the spine forming a tube in the middle. This problem is much less pronounced with 16 page signatures.

There is also a technical reason to avoid 32 page signatures - They are just harder to work with. If you have a book sewing machine - 32 page signatures tax its limits. If you are hand sewing, it is hard to make the holes to do the sewing through that much paper.

Since it won't take any more paper, why not use smaller signatures? It will make for a better book.

Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
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Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2006, 09:27:41 AM »

Chris, are you asking about the number of signatures, or the size of the signatures themselves?

A signature with eight pages is called an octavo.  Are you talking about octavo signatures in general, or eight individual signatures stacked together?
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MatrixGamer
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2006, 10:19:26 AM »

I thought the question was about how the size of signatures affected the quality of the end book. In this case, thicker signatures can lead to the problems I mentioned above.

A signature of 8 pages is called an octavo but that term isn't often relevant for home bound books. Octavo refers to a large sheet that is folded down to form a signature. This is what happens with offset press printing because you can use larger sheets (or rolls of paper if you have millions of dollars). These large sheets can be machine folded. Us folks that do self production are likely doing our printing off a computer, photo copier or digital duplicator.  This means we're printing on 8.5x11 or 11x17 sheets. These are too small to fold down. They only have one fold or maybe two. This means the signatures are hand collated and hand folded and can be made much thicker than one could get out of an octavo.

Of course there has to be at least one fold for sewing to be done just not more than one.

Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
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Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2006, 11:04:21 AM »

Right, Chris.  I do quartos at home myself (two folds, four leaves, eight pages).  However, quarto/octavo/sextodecimo can refer to both the sheet that is printed on as well as a signature of that size.  That's certainly how we refer to them at my day job.
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MatrixGamer
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2006, 12:38:00 PM »

I defer to your greater knowledge. My day job is social work. I just mess with printing at home - beat gambling or chasing women...at least in my wife's opinion.

Chris Engle
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Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
http://HamsterPress.net
David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2006, 08:01:02 AM »

The more sheets you have in a section/signature the bigger the page creep. The pages of a booklet form a point when folded. This makes your text shift closer and closer to the trimmed edge. Get more than 8 sheets (a 32 page section) and the shift becomes noticeable.

Just had to chime in that, given the highly manual nature of your production, you could do manual imposition. Imposition basically means that you shift your margins slightly, from page to page, to fight page creep. This is tedious to do manually, but once the page contents are "fixed" you can go into your editor and create master pages that manage imposition fairly well.

Just have a page 1/8 and a page 3/6 master page (or, basically, a page 1/n, 3/n-2, 5/n-4, etc master pages for more than 8 per signature).

All the other issues Matrix mentions remain true.

Good luck!
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2006, 08:39:11 AM »

Quibble: "imposition" is putting the pages out of readable order and into bindable order (ie, 1/8, 2/7, 3/6, 4/5).  Fiddling with margins for imposition is, well, fiddling with margins for imposition -- a good thing to do, mind, but it's part of a larger process called imposition.
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David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2006, 06:52:45 AM »

My bad--it's been a few years since I had to deal with paper signatures. In professional post-production, I've always used digital imposition software, and creep was pretty much automatically handled by it, once it knew the paper weight.

But the method still holds, in spite of my misapplied terminology. In FrameMaker, it's actually pretty trivial to make new Master Pages and tune the margins for creep.

First, fix your page contents--basically, you need to have a static page count before proceeding.
Then, print it out and measure the creep per inset page.
Go back into Frame and copy your Master Page(s). Shift all the text areas "inward" (toward the binding) for each inset page set by the amount of measured creep.
Apply the new Master Page(s) to the inset pages, as appropriate (left/right, 3,4/5,6).
Reprint, fold, stitch, and trim.

Obviously, you can't do this in a program that manages page margins at the document level (i.e. for the whole document). In Word or Publisher, you will have to put all contents into text boxes so that you can do the shifting per-page. Obviously, your contents have to be REALLY static at this point, in those applications: their text boxes do not handle content flow from box-to-box; each is a stand-alone entity, practically a graphic (IIRC).

Good luck with it.
David
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