|A Sewing Frame with “A” keys|
If you have done basic bookbinding (or if you take the Center for Book Arts’ Bookbinding 1 course) you are likely familiar with the low-tech method of taping down linen tapes to your table while sewing up the signatures of your book. This method, as seen below right, is a quick and simple to keep tapes relatively straight and prevents them for curling or sliding out of the stack you are sewing.
|Taping linen tapes to a table to prevent them from slipping|
When you progress to more advanced bookbinding, however, especially binding that uses raised cords, the tape method becomes less desirable. In more advanced books, the designer needs a more reliable way to keep cords and tapes tight. One such method is the sewing frame, the adjustable wooden structure seen above. Yet how to keep the tapes from sliding out?
That’s where sewing keys come in.
|“A” and “H” keys|
The two most common kinds of sewing keys are “A” keys, used for sewing with raised cords, and “H” keys, used for sewing with linen tapes. For each tape (the book above uses three), a sewing key is used. The cords or tapes are tied around the sewing key, which is placed beneath the bottom of the sewing frame. Because the key sticks out, it will not slip through the bottom as the cords will, but keep it both tightly in place and perfectly straight—a benefit that masking tape does not have. The cord is pulled taut and then http://www.honeytraveler.com/buy-paxil/ tied to the top part of the frame (or from loops hanging from the top of the frame) to keep it in place.
|Text block in a sewing frame|
Next, the stack of signatures that will become your text block is placed flush with the tightly drawn cords or tapes (as seen right), allowing the body of the book to be sewn neatly, without slack or wobbling. This is particularly important in books with raised cords, where the cording is visible when the book is completed. Any unintentional bumps or crooked angles caused by crooked or loose cords can ruin the elegant aesthetic of leather-bound books.
Because cords and tapes are shaped differently, different types of sewing keys are used. As seen in the cover photo of this post, cords and tied around the narrow part of the “A” key. Linen tapes, which need to be kept flat as well as straight, are placed through the middle window of the “H” key. Regardless, both types of keys are placed beneath the frame, keeping your tapes and cords neat and tidy and perfect for creating that next book!