Making Sections

A few notes and tips on making sections (which can then be bound together in all sorts of wonderful ways).

One folded sheet counts as 4 pages
When you gather four folded sheets together we call it a section or a signature. This is a 16-page section, which is the standard number of pages in a section. (The 4 x 4)
When you are making books by hand you can vary the number of pages in each section depending on the thickness of paper you are using. You should aim to get the thickness of a section to be about 1-2mm when you squeeze it between your fingers.
This table will give you a rough guide to the number of pages per section with varying weights of paper. Divide the number in the bottom row by four to get the number of folded sheets per section.

Some tips on cutting paper by hand

Bookbinders have specialist equipment for cutting book edges but most of us will not have access to this. See video below for a taste of what a high quality, hand operated, edge cutter looks like – the vertical plough.

For most of us working at home we will have to find ways around this:

  1. We could find a local printer or bookbinder who could offer us an edge cutting service.
    2. We could try to cut our sections with a sharp blade and a ruler, one section at a time

    3. We could make books with “rough” edges. This means the edges of the pages do not completely align. When bookbinders use high quality hand made papers, they feature the “deckle” edges of the paper on all or some of the edges of their books.

Some techniques for making torn edges to pages. 

Use a “soft” edged knife or bone folder to tear along a fold.

2. “Draw” a line in water and then tease the paper apart. Let the water soak in to the fibre for a minute or two.

How to fold a section from a large sheet of paper.

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