Head-banding a book

Double core head bandDouble core head band Double core head band Double core head band Double core head band

Double core head band

Complete double core head-band

This weekend, the North- West and North Wales meeting for the Society of Bookbinders welcomed Nicky Oliver of Black Fox Bindery to run a workshop on head-banding books. Nicky is well known for her beautiful design bindings that feature hand sewn head bands.

I took a book block that I had already sewn with me to add my head-bands to, I intend to work on the internal pages of the book over the coming months to create a complete book, and thought it would be a welcome addition to the piece.

We had the opportunity to try both single core and double core head-bands. Nicky discussed with us initially the materials that can be used for the cores, which varied from laminated card and buckram to leather thongs. She also discussed the use of threads for wrapping around the cores, and suggested using polyester thread as well as silks.

Once we had watched a demonstration, we were able to have a go at our own head-bands. I chose not to work with a regimented pattern with mine, and to use three colours (I like a challenge!).

The technique relies on keeping a secure tension on the threads to be effective and wrapping the core, regularly tying the head-band to the book block to secure it. Once the cores have been wrapped, the core can be trimmed back at an angle and a small amount of PVA applied to prevent the thread from falling off the ends of the head-band.

In the photographs you can see the double core head-band in progress. I have tied the two cores together on the far left to keep them more stable whilst working on them. There is also an image of the spine of the book where the head-band is stitched to the book. By making these stitches underneath the first kettle stitch of the binding, the head band is securely fastened. This book just needs to have its spine lined and then I can start working on the cover and the interior of the piece.

You can see examples of Nicky’s beautiful design bindings here

And find Black Fox Bindery on Facebook here