Glueing the Spine

After the pages have been sewn together, we usually add glue to the spine to seal the gaps between the sections. If you are making a hard cover for your pages, you may want to add endpapers before you glue the spine.

Normally, we would give the sewn pages a good squeeze in the heavy bookbinding presses before we glue the spine, but as we are improvising here, it is important to press the sewn edge by hand as hard as you can – try with a bone folder or the back of a spoon perhaps. This will help to flatten the thread inside the sections and make the structure more compact.

Prepare your pages for glueing by knocking them in to alignment. We need to pay attention to the top and bottom edges too as we are not able to cut them:

Improvise at home with your own book press. You will need two flat boards – could perhaps be old books or just their covers. Or two floor or wall tiles? They need to be slightly bigger than the book you are making. For a heavy weight, try wrapping up a brick in polythene.

The pages have been squeezed between two wooden boards with lots of weight on top. Try to press as much as possible here so that the glue does not seep in to the pages. The weights have been placed close to the edge for maximum pressure on the spine.
Using a small brush and PVA, paint glue along the spine edge to fill in the spaces between the sections. You can also press the glue in with your fingers to encourage all the threads to flatten as well. Try to get the spine smooth and well glued. You could also add an extra layer of glue after the first one has dried.
Don't worry if the pages stick a little to the edge of the pressing boards. When you want to remove the pages, try gently twisting the top board to remove it. If you lay a hand on the pages (open the top board like a book) before you do this they will not be pulled out of shape.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email