Make a "Medieval Paperback" Journal using Indirect Tacketing

Hilke Kurzke, Book Artist, Printmaker, Writer, Bookbinder

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12 Lessons (1h 1m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Lesson 1: Planning a Binding

    • 3. Lesson 2: Folding Signatures

    • 4. Lesson 3 Part I: Tackets - What they are and how to use them

    • 5. Lesson 3 Part II: First Class Project. Use a Tacket to Make a Simple Notebooko make a Simple Noteboo

    • 6. Lesson 3 Part III: Second Class Project. Use an Indirect Tacket to Make a Thicker Notebook

    • 7. Lesson 4: Prepare for Primary Sewing

    • 8. Lesson 5: The Primary Sewing (Unsupported Chain Stitch)

    • 9. Lesson 6: Designing and Preparing the Cover

    • 10. Lesson 7: Secondary Sewing (Tackets)

    • 11. Lesson 8: Final Touches

    • 12. Goodbye


About This Class


In this class you are going to learn to make a this sturdy example of a medieval binding. Your book doesn't have to have paper covers, you can also use leather, a strong fabric (like for example jeans) or anything you deem sturdy enough to serve as a cover if you prefer.

This "indirect" tacketing is a method that is rarely taught in videos online. I can only guess that this is because a direct tacketing is also possible, and looks the same on a photo, - and is quicker to explain. It might also seem superficially easier. But using this technique here will result in a sturdier book, and this technique allows for more design options which makes this binding style much more satisfying in the end.

I consider this an interdiate class. Although I do explain everything, some vital parts, especially how to cut your cover to exactly the right size are covered very briefly. But if you know how to cut paper and how to make a cover fit, then this should be really straight forward. - If you don't then I still hope you'll give it a try, I am happy to answer any questions as they come up.

Here are some other examples with the same techique:


This class is packed with information, this is a breakdown of the individual lessons and steps:

Lesson I: Planning the book.
          You'll learn a bit more about this structure in general and get an idea of where choices were made in the design process. You do not necessarily need this lesson to make the class project, and if you are itching to get started, you could skip this or watch later.

Lesson II: Preparing  Signatures (for the primary sewing)
In this lesson you learn how to cut down larger sheets of paper to size for your book block. You'll learn about grain direction in your paper and why it is important.

Lesson III: Tackets
          Part 1: Here I show you how tackets are made and used to hold a pile of single sheets together - just like a staple.

           Part 2: Make a simple notebook using the tacket in the fold (like staples hold together a simple store-bought notebook). This is a direct tacketing method.

           Part 3: I demonstrate the indirect tacketing we are going to use in our final class project at a simple example. In this way you could make simple jotter journals with two signatures.

           Class Project One: Make at least one notebook using either a direct or an indirect tacket method.

Lesson IV: The primary sewing
           In this lesson I show you how to sew your text block for our final class project from planning your sewing stations and pre-punching holes to the final knot in your sewing.

Lesson V: Designing and Preparing the Cover
In this lesson we first make a mock-up of our cover from tracing paper. On this we plan the sewing holes for our tackets. 
           The cover material is then cut to size, and holes are pre-punched.

Lesson VI: Secondary Sewing
Finally we are ready to finish sewing on our main class project. With all the preparatory work we did, this is now easy and straight forward.

Lesson VII: Finishing Off
           Now that the binding is done, we clean up everything and cut the covers to size.