The Grasses of Great Britain Part Four: The Title and Covering

I don’t generally add titles to my bindings but did plan to for this one. I had arranged the embroidery so that the central area of the covering leather was left totally bare to allow for a leather title panel to be added.

I pared down a piece of Harmatan green leather to about 0.4mm in thickness and backed it with lens tissue. I photocopied the title of the book onto some paper and pricked around the outlines of the letters so that they were visible on the reverse and the lines were inked in with a fine nib pen.

The letters were then carefully pierced out of the leather using a sharp scalpel with a size 10A blade in it. You can see both the cut-out letters and the emerging title panel, both of which would be used – two labels for the price of one!

~ Piercing the title letters out from the thinly pared leather

I applied gold leaf to the surface of the covering leather using PVA glue, placed in the area behind where the letters I had cut out for the title would fall when the title leather was stuck onto the book. The gold leaf was rubbed down using a teflon folder through silicone release paper.

~ Applying gold leaf to the surface of the covering leather

The green leather was stuck in place using PVA glue. Two words, ‘THE’ and ‘OF’ were carbon-tooled onto the panel using some small hand-tools.

A border was marked within the edge of the title panel using a pair of dividers. This was then pricked with a needle pricker at regular intervals and then sewn using four different colours of threads in the quadrants of the border in order to attach the title label to the bull skin, plus to add a bit of visual detail. The covering leather was now ready to stick to the text block.

The boards were back-cornered and the hollow split in preparation for the leather covering.

I gathered everything I needed together for attaching the leather to the binding including: paste, brushes, scalpel, scissors, Teflon folder, string and of course the binding and leather!

~ Preparing for leather covering

The leather was pasted out by applying three layers of paste, leaving it for a few minutes in between applications for the paste to fully penetrate into the skin.

Once the leather was on the binding and dry, I glued on the missing pieces of leather for the spine title.

~ Adding the missing pieces of the spine title

The fifth and final part of the blog post describes how the doublures were put down and the wooden box was made.

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