Japanese Bindings

Japanese 4 hole binding
Japanese 4 Hole Binding

I recently started to look at traditional Japanese bindings. These are a stab binding, and require very little glue or paste generally. Using the book Japanese Book Binding by Kojiro Ikegami as a guide, the books are quite straight forward. The first one was the simple 4 hole binding from which most other styles are derived. The style is elegant and clean.

The fore edge of the book exposes the folded edges of the leaves, unlike the Western styles where the folded edges make up the spine. This was apparently because the paper was very thin and ink could bleed through, so binding in this way ensured that only one side of the paper would be written on.

I used a 48gsm paper from Reeve to make this first book. It is getting quite difficult to get good quality light weight paper. The cover is made from an unlined heavy weight hand made paper, and bound with a DMC embroidery thread

Some of the technique I adjusted from the traditional style. For example, the holes are usually punched with an awl and mallet. I used a jig and a 2mm drill bit in a power drill. This is very good for getting good clean holes of consistent size. As long as there is a strong board clamped tightly to both top and bottom there is no tear out.

Japanese Book With Wrap Around Box

The next book was similar, except for the covers. These were made from a lined french book cloth with a very strong texture, almost like suede. There is also a wrap around box made in the traditional style, and hand made toggles from ebonised walnut.

Next on the list is a full box, as well as hemp leaf bindings. More to come.