Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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Japanese sewing

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A method of sewing leaves or sections which, despite the name, was actually developed in China. The method involves gathering and jogging the leaves, and then drilling a hole through the entire thickness of the pile in the center anywhere from /4 to 3/4 inch from the edge of the spine, or more depending on the size of the book, the nature of the paper, and the extent of the binding margin. Additional holes are then drilled on either side of the center hole at uniform distances, the total number, including the one in the center, being an odd number. The sewing proceeds from the center hole to the head of the book, over the head and then down over the spine past the center hole to the tail and then back to the center. When the sewing is completed, the ends are tied in a flat knot on the out side. An alternative method is to begin at either end, in which case the number of holes may be even or odd. Thread, cord, string, yarn, tape, or rope fibers can be used. Japanese sewing may be considered as a form of SIDE SEWING (or stabbing) and, although it does not allow much flexibility, especially with small books, it is an extremely strong method of sewing, possibly one of the strongest ever devised. (183 )

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