|Casing in a text block|
So after you finish your text block and your end sheets are tipped in, how do you physically join your text block to the hard front and back covers of your book? Today’s Thursday Term teaches you just that: a process known as “casing in.
Hardback book cases, made from binder’s board, are built separately from the text itself. When working on a hardback book, the text block is completed first, and then board is cut to fit the text block. These boards are then covered in cloth or paper, and will look like a long, floppy, and colorful piece of cardboard, as seen in the image above. Through the process of casing in, this floppy outer case of the book will be glued to the text block, creating a near-finished book by joining the two individual pieces.
The process of casing in alters slightly depending on your text block—flat, round, or blocks with raised cords—but most require the all important end sheets. As seen above, the decorative endsheets of the text block are on either side of the text; one side is attached to the text block, but the other is not attached to anything. It is this part of the endsheet that can be glued to the binder’s board, giving the first part of the book a neat and elegant feel. Because the endsheet will be the first thing you see when you open the book, the choice of paper (including color, pattern, and weight) can be very important.
When casing in a book, the text block is first lined up perfectly with its case, and pressing boards should be chosen and prepared. Glue mixture (PVA mixed with methyl cellulose) then coats the backside of one endsheet. The front cover of the book is then closed onto the endsheet until it makes contact and pressure is applied to prevent the text block from slipping. You can then flip the book over and repeat the process on the other side, while making sure to keep the text block and case steady and neat. When this is completed (but before the glue dries!) the entire book is placed in a press, between pressing boards, where it will remain for a few hours. When removed, congratulations! Your book is completed!
If you have any hardcover books, I encourage you to open them up and examine the colorful pages which appear between the first page of text and the front and back covers of the book. Those are endsheets and, odds are, they are glued securely and evenly on both sides. Though the process will be different for mass-produced books, they, too, have been cased in!
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