Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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tying up

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The technique of wrapping cord tightly around a book from spine to fore edge, one cord on either side of each raised band. Tying up is done subsequent to covering, its purpose being to make the leather adhere securely to the sides of the bands. The term is also applied to the process of tying cord from head to tail at the spine so as to pinch the headcaps.

Tying up, which represented the first effort to mold the leather around the raised bands, was first used in the early 13th century. The technique seems to coincide more or less with the first use of the groove method of attaching boards. Virtually all books sewn on raised cords were "tied up" until early in the 19th century. Although BAND NIPPERS are now used in lieu of tying up, the practice is still employed in the restoration of pre-19th century rare books, primarily to give the appearance of the binding technique of the times.

That tying up declined after the early 19th century was probably due to several factors, including: 1) leather in trade binding was replaced by cloth; 2) sewing on raised cords itself declined; and 3) standards of finishing in fine binding were improving and neater work could be done without the use of cords and, in any event, tying up was unnecessary if the leather was properly prepared and drawn on. Large books were (and still are) tied up, especially when the covering leather is intractable. e.g., pigskin.

Indenting of the leather on the fore edge of the boards is prevented by the use of specially shaped wooden boards. See TYING-UP BOARDS . As an alternative method, millboard can be bent to shape. The leather of old bindings is sometimes marked by the pressure of the tying-up boards. because the cords used for large books were tied very tightly. (173 , 236 , 335 )

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