Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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The additional thickness in the spine of a book caused by the sewing thread and/ or extensive guarding. If the sections are thin and large in number, the sewing swell may become so great as to cause problems in subsequent operations. This is particularly true with hard-finished papers, because, when a book is made up of soft paper, the sewing threads will become embedded in the paper to some degree when the book is smashed or nipped and the swell reduced; however, since the threads will not be forced into hard paper by smashing without cutting it, the book retains the swell. Excessive swell can cause the spine of the book to buckle and run in, uneven trimming, and poor rounding and backing. While excessive swell is undesirable, some swell is required for proper rounding and backing. In hand binding, the danger of excessive swell can sometimes be avoided by sewing the book TWO ON . (256 , 339 )

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