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Advanced Gothic Bookbinding

Pictures of the Construction of the Vigil book Brother Conchobar did for Master Avery Austringer.

Counting the pre-cut sheets for the quires


A "quire" is four sheets of paper which are intended to be folded in half together along the short axis.  The word "quire" comes from the Latin quaternum for four sheets of paper stacked together (Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary)


Folding the quires into signatures.  Here you see me using a bone folder to help set the crease.

The bookblock.  The signatures have been folded and are waiting to be marked for sewing.  Generally, I prefer a block with 10 signatures.  Many books in Period had many more than 10 signatures.  For my blank books, it's all personal preference.

Measuring and marking.  Here you see me measuring the placement of the sewing stations in preparation for piercing them.  Each signature should be marked in exactly the same place, to the stations are all in a line, as this makes a cleaner looking spine.

Registration marks.  If the pages of this book contained test or images, these marks would help the binder to make sure that the book was being assembled in the correct order.  In this case, they are superfluous as the pages are blank.  Markings have been digitally enhanced for your viewing ease.

Piercing the Sewing Stations.  Here you see me using the binder's awl to poke a hole through the signature where I'll be sewing the signatures together.
Markings have been digitally enhanced for your viewing ease.

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