|A book with visible signatures|
The blog has so far discussed text blocks, headbands, and casing in, yet the very important use of “signatures” have not been formally introduced. While there are different ways to create text blocks (just as there are different ways to bind books), the creation of signatures is one of the most common methods used in bound hardback books, both in hand bookbinding and in mass production: perfect for today’s Monday Methods!
|A stack of signatures|
At its core, a “signature” is a small stack of paper, around 4-10 sheets, that are folded down the center together, creating what looks like a small pamphlet. If you sewed or stapled this signature down the middle it could easily function as a chapbook. In fact, many weekly and monthly magazines are basically one large signature, stapled in the center!
When making books larger than a few sheets of paper, particularly hardback ones, multiple signatures are required. These can be made by first cutting down sheets of paper to the appropriate height and width (which must be double the width of the actual book since these will be folded over), placing a few sheets into a pile, and folding the pile over. This will be a folio signature, since the paper is only folded once. There are also “quarto” and “octo” methods of creating buy modafinil whirlpool signatures, where a large sheet of paper is folded over into four or eight sheets of appropriate size. Shakespeare’s First Folio, for example, is called that because the book was printed on paper that was only folded once (which meant something very large and expensive!).
|Stitching together signatures|
Once a stack of signatures has been made, they must be stitched together. Unlike a magazine, where three staples (or holes) are enough to keep the sheets together, multiple signatures require a more advanced sewing technique, to both keep each signature together, and to connect the separate signatures to each other. Don’t be intimidated, however, as the Bookbinding 1 courses here at the Center for Book Arts all teach it early, and at least two books are made with multiple signatures. Keep your eyes peeled for just some of these methods being described!