Fine binding is not an edition binding which turned out pretty well. The term refers to the craft, the art, of hand binding at its highest pitch. In Britain there’s a society of binders, Designer Bookbinders, and an annual prize organized by the Bodleian Library in Oxford. The Queen even has a bookbinder: Ian Barnes of Temple Bookbinders in Oxford was recently named ‘Hand bookbinder to Her Majesty, the Queen’, as AbeBooks informs us.

The rather impressionistic video below whisks you through the fine binding process, courtesy of The Folio Society. I am still wondering what the function of that tin of Brasso is. Note that the book in this video features mass produced headbands and artificial hubs (raised bands which originally were the evidence for the cords which secured the boards and the sewing)*, so though it’s a pretty fine binding, it’s not “hand binding at its highest pitch”. It’s interesting, though like so much else, obvious on reflection, that “the term ‘raised bands’ only entered the bookbinder’s vocabulary when the structural need for them had disappeared.” (John Carter: ABC for book collectors).

If you don’t see a video here, please click on the title of this post so you can view it in your browser.


* See the video at Hand binding.