Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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1. The cords or thongs on which the sections of books are sewn. They may be raised for FLEXIBLE SEWING , sawn-in forRECESSED-CORD sewing, orFLEXIBLE NOT TO SHOW . Early bands (or thongs, as they were originally called) were made of leather, which was not very durable, or tawed skin, which was very durable. Leather thongs began to be replaced by cords during the latter years of the 16th century. Hemp and linen cords are commonly used today.

Sewing on raised bands came into use in England sometime between the 12th and 13th centuries, although the technique had been introduced into northern Europe centuries earlier. The first raised band sewing was on double bands, ranging in number from two to five. The bands were positioned so that there was a greater space between the bands themselves than between the top and bottom bands and the head and tail of the book. Single bands began to replace double ones and, by the mid-16th century, had become predominant in the more economical styles of binding.

2. Strips of reinforcing material (usually leather) which extend across the spine, or spring-back, and onto the sides of a book, usually a stationery binding. The bands may be placed on the boards before covering, in which case they are called "underbands," or over the covering material, where they are known as "overbands." Bands are used to strengthen large blankbooks in the area of the joints, and to provide additional leather at areas of heavy surface abrasion. They also protect, to some extent, the lettering on the spine of the book. When overbands are used, they are generally decorated in some manner, usually in the design of their lacing or riveting; this step is needed because adhesive alone will not keep the overbands attached to the book. In the case of underbands, the decoration of the covering leather is often concentrated around the area of the bands.

The size and position of the bands, both over and under, are based on definite proportions of the cover of the book. Bands may be single, double, or double straight. When single bands are used, the cover is divided into 19 equal parts. Each band is 3/19 the length of the cover, and there are 3/19 the cover length between the bands. The top and bottom bands are each 2/19 from the head and tail edges of the cover, respectively. All three bands extend into the cover 2/5 of its width. Double bands, in addition to providing additional strength across the spine, also provide an additional thickness of leather along the edges of the boards. These bands are more complicated than single bands, as the bands at head and tail are equal to 5/19 of the length of the cover, with 2 of the 5/19 bands extending the full width of the cover, while the other 3/19 extend only the customary 2/5. The center band also extends 2/5 the width. With double band there is no space between the bands and the head and tail of the boards.

A variation of the double band is the double straight. In this technique, the length of the cover is divided into five equal segments. Each band is 1/5 the length of the cover. The head and tail bands extend the full width of the cover, while the middle one extends the customary 2/5.

Bands were also used to some extent in limp vellum binding, in which case the bands were sewn through the sections of the book.

The use of bands as a technique for strengthening bindings has been practiced since at least the 14th century. At one time they were commonly referred to as "Russia bands" because of the use of RUSSIA LEATHER in making them.

3. Lines in gold or in blind impressed by means of a pallet across the spine of a book sewn on recessed cords in the same positions as would be occupied by the raised bands used in flexible sewing. 4. False bands attached to a HOLLOW BACK book or aTIGHT BACK book sewn on recessed cords, in imitation of flexible sewing. 5. The strips of brass attached to the tail edges of the covers of large blankbooks, for the purpose of protecting the leather covering from wear. 6. A form of decoration consisting of wide parallel lines with ornaments impressed between them. (83 , 123 ,152 , 236 ,241 , 256 ,264 , 343 )

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