Glossary of Terms

The A to Z Glossary  

  Acid-Free: (Neutral pH) Papers that are without acid in the pulp. Acid free paper has a pH of 7.0. See pH
  Archival: Paper that is not only acid-free but also lignin and sulfur-free. Archival paper is most commonly used to repair and restore historic documents. The paper must be long lasting without causing deterioration to itself or other materials it may come in contact with. 

Adhesive Binding: Type of binding that is not sewn, whereby the pages are secured together solely with an adhesive, such as PVA which is applied to the spine of the text block. It is also known as a fan glued binding or commercially as a perfect binding, which is somewhat of a misnomer.
  Awl: A sharp, pointed tool with handle used for punching holes in signatures, book board or for Japanese stab bindings.
  Backing: In traditional bookbinding, it is the process of shaping a ridge or shoulder on each side of the spine of a text block after rounding it. Backing accommodates the thickness of the boards, and provides a hinge along which they open and close. See Rounding
  Backing Hammer: Traditional bookbinder's hammer used for rounding and backing spines. Backing hammers have a slightly rounded face with a single claw used to manipulate the spine in the rounding process.
  Batik: A decorative paper method of treating fabric or paper with wax before dyeing, so the treated area does not pick up color and shows a contrasting design. 
  Beeswax: A light coat of beeswax stiffens the thread and prevents tangling and knotting when sewing. It also provides traction to prevent slippage.
  Bone Folder: A standard and indispensable bookbinding tool is typically used for creasing, pressing, burnishing, scoring, and has countless other uses. Made of genuine bone in all shapes and sizes.
  Book Board: Book Board is made of various pulps or laminated materials pressed into large flat sheets. It is used as the base material for book covers. Hollander's "Standard" book board is lightweight, but adequate for most book making applications. It is also easier to cut than the much denser Davey Board. "Davey Board", often denotes a higher quality, denser board.
  Book Cloth: Specially prepared cloth typically used as a covering material for book covers. It is usually dyed and coated with some compound, usually starch or acrylic, and then subjected to heat and pressure in the manufacturing. Hollander's offers a wide variety of book cloths.
  Buckram: A very heavy weight and durable book cloth. It is often referred to as "Library Cloth" because it is used as a cover material for library and heavier books. 
  Cambric: A mid-grade, woven fabric used as a spine reinforcement material in book making.
  Card Stock: A descriptive term used to describe the weight of papers that are heavier than cover weight, but lighter than board weight. These papers would be used for business cards, framing (such as mat board), and heavy weight watercolor papers.
  Case Binding: The cover of a book that consists of two boards, an inlay material (card stock) for the spine, and covering material. The case is usually made separately from the text block and later attached to the text block. 
  Casing-InProcess of applying adhesive to the outermost endpapers of a textblock and fitting the text into its case. You can order Hollander's instruction booklet that teaches you how to case-in a textbock. 
  CelluloseRefers to the plant material that goes into papermaking. In paper, it often comes from cotton, hemp, or kozo. 
  Chin Colle: A paper collage process in which sheets of paper are laminated together by the pressure of an etching press. This process allows for layers of colored areas to be achieved without having to use separate plates. Lightweight or tissue papers are commonly used.
  Cover Weight Papers: A loosely used term applied to a variety of papers, slightly heavier than text weight, but not as heavy as card stock. Often used for outside covers of catalogues, brochures, booklets, and as pages in photo albums.  Typically they would have a weight in GSM (Grams per Square Meters) anywhere from 160-340.
  Cold Pressed: Mildly textured surface produced by pressing the paper through unheated rollers. See: Hot Pressed Paper
  Cord Key: Used to hold cord onto a sewing frame when sewing signatures. See Tape Key.
  Curved Needles: Specialized needle used for Coptic and other types of decorative stitching often seen on the exposed spines of books made by book artists. Many of Keith Smith’s books specialize in unique sewing techniques.
  Davey Board: Often used to describe high quality bookbinding board. Available in varying thicknesses (Hollander’s carries .080 and .098), it is acid-free, single-ply, dense, and warp resistant. The name Davey comes from the company that originally manufactured it; although the company no longer exists, the name has stuck.
  Deckle: The wooden frame that rests on top of a mould and defines the edge of a sheet during hand papermaking. See: Mould
  Deckle Edge: The feathered edge of a sheet of paper, caused where the pulp thins towards the edge of the deckle frame.
  Embossed Finish: Paper with a raised or depressed surface resembling wood, cloth, leather, or other patterns.
  Flat Back Book: A case-bound text block that has not been rounded or backed, often has a hard spine. Typically this type of book is used with narrow textblocks, approximately 1/2” or less in thickness. See Round Back.
  Flyleaf: Loose page or leaf, forming that part of the folded endsheet not pasted down to the inside of the cover board. Its function is to protect the first and last sheet of the textblock. For most handmade books, it is considered a decorative element of the design.
  Fore EdgeThe front edge of a book, opposite and parallel to the spine edge. 
  Grain Direction: Direction in which the majority of the fibers in a piece of paper or board are aligned. Grain direction in most materials used in bookbinding should run parallel to the spine of the book. 
  Handmade Paper: A sheet of paper made individually by hand, using a mould and deckle. 
  Headband: Headbands are often referred to as endbands because they are used as a decorative element at both ends (head and tail) of the text block. Using a little PVA glue they can easily be attached to the spine before casing-in.  They can also be hand sewn and are a functional element of the text block.
  Hemp: An older name for abaca, manila hemp is related to the banana plant.  Its leaf fiber is often used in paper making. Not to be confused with hemp-cannabis sativa, or the marijuana plant.
  Hinge: Flexible part of the cover on which the boards swing open. 
  Hollow Back BookType of case binding whereby when opening the boards, a hollow space is created between the textblock spine and the inside of the cover spine. Learn to make a hollow back book. 
  Hot Pressed Paper: Smooth, glazed surface produced by pressing the paper through hot rollers after the formation of the sheetSee: Cold Pressed Paper
  Jade 403 - PVA: An archival, high quality form of PVA glue.  Considered the gold standard of PVA glues.
  Airplane (Irish) Linen: An incredibly strong, tightly woven fabric that is used for spine reinforcement on high quality, fine bindings.
  Kozo: A long, rough fiber from the mulberry tree that produces strong absorbent sheets of paper; the most common fiber used in Japanese papermaking. Kozo and mulberry are used synonymously and both are mistakenly called “rice papers."
  Laid Paper: Paper with a prominent pattern of ribbed lines in the finished sheet. The mould used to make laid paper has numerous narrowly spaced laid wires that are woven together by very thin wires or threads called chain lines. 
  Letterpress: The process of printing from a raised inked surface with a plate. More recently, letterpress printing is used in such items as wedding invitations and cards. The appeal is the embossing of the type into the paper.
  Machine-Made: Paper that is produced on a rapidly moving machine that forms, dries, sizes, and presses the sheet. This process forms an extremely uniform sheet and is without deckle edges.
  Matte: Used to describe a dull finish of coated paper. 
  Methylcellulose: Powder, mixed with water and used as mild glue for paper and repair. Most effective when added to PVA to extend drying time and allows for repositioning. Also may be used as a substitute for carrageenan in preparing a paper-marbling bath. 
  MicrospatulaSpecialty tool used in book repair, primarily for lifting delicate papers.
  Mould: A flat screen with wire mesh onto which the deckle is placed during hand papermaking. See: Deckle
  Mould-Made: A sheet of paper that simulates the look of handmade paper but is actually made by a machine called a cylinder mould. Usually less expensive than hand-made papers, but more expensive than machine-made.
  Parchment: Animal skin or lining stretched and prepared as a writing or painting surface, or for bookbinding covers.  Often referred to as Vellum.
  pH: Technically it is the measure of availability of free hydrogen ions representing the balance between the acid and alkaline components of a material. 7 pH (pH neutral) represents a balance between acid and alkaline components; 0 pH is very acidic; 14 pH is very alkaline. See: Acid-free
  PVA Thick Glue: A much thicker and stronger version of regular PVA glue, it works well for specific applications such as box making or where more viscous glue is required. Bonds paper to metal. 
  PVA(Polyvinyl Acetate) A synthetic, white adhesive, flexible, and considered permanent. Most commonly used as bookbinding glue. Non-toxic and easily cleans up with water.
  Rice StarchA museum-quality adhesive in powder form. Must be mixed with water and cooked in a double boiler or in a microwave. A traditional, archival adhesive, used for paper repair as well as an adhesive for leather and paper. Often mixed with PVA or methylcellulose.
  Rice Paper: A common misnomer applied to Asian papers. Lightweight mulberry is the classic paper thought of as “rice paper.” Rice rarely plays a part in the manufacture of papers in Asia.
  Rounding: Process of hammering or manipulating the textblock spine into a convex shape. Rounding reduces the effect of swelling caused by the thickness of the sewing threads. See: Backing
  Salago: A wild shrub native to Philippines that is harvested in a manner very similar to mulberry. Limbs are trimmed, the bark is stripped off and inner fiber of the branch is boiled and beaten. 
  Sewing Thread: Many varieties and colors are available, both waxed and unwaxed. See Hollander's selection.
  Sewing FrameAllows for sewing on cords or tapes when sewing a text block. A narrow open slot on the frame’s table is for cord and tape keys. Large wooden nuts to tighten cords and tapes against a cross bar are attached to two vertical rods. 
  SuperA loosely woven sized cotton, cheesecloth-like material, used for lining spines and strengthening the attachment of the text block to the cover boards. Also known as mull or tarlatan.
  Tape Key: Used to hold tape onto a sewing frame when sewing signatures. See Cord Key
  Teflon Folder: Used as an alternative to the standard bone folder. They will not mark delicate papers or leather when being used as a burnishing tool. Features a hard pointed end for creasing and a flat and tapered end. 
  TextblockPages of a book after they have been bound together.
  Text Weight:  A very loosely used term applied to a variety of papers that range from being slightly heavier than tissue weight, but not as heavy as cover weight. Most commonly these papers would be used as the text pages in a book, endsheets, or as a decorative paper used to cover a book. Photo copy paper is also typically a text weight.  To be more exact, papers are often expressed in pounds or grams.  Although there is quite a range, a typical text weight paper might be described as being 60 lbs. or 90 grams.  (See Tissue Weight, Cover Weight.)
  Tip-in: Thin line of adhesive that is applied along the edge of a leaf (single page) or when a leaf is tipped onto another leaf, both usually at the spine edge. 
  Tissue Weight:  A commonly used term applied to a variety of lightweight papers. Most are thin and semi-translucent. Typically they would have a weight in g/sm (Grams per Square Meter) anywhere from approximately 20-40g/sm.
  Tooth: A slightly rough paper, which readily permits acceptance of ink.
  Unryu: Literally means “cloud dragon paper” in Japanese. Unryu paper contains strands of fiber that are added to create contrast and texture. 
  Washi: From the Japanese “wa”, meaning Japan, and “shi”, meaning paper, washi refers to any Japanese paper. 
  Watermark: The translucent design or text easily visible when a sheet is held to the light.
  Wove paper: A type of paper with a smooth, even surface made using a mould with a fine wire mesh. A wove paper will not show laid lines when held up to the light. 
  Wheat PasteA museum-quality adhesive, in powder form. Must be mixed with water and cooked in a double boiler or in a microwave. A traditional, archival adhesive, used for paper repair as well as an adhesive for leather and paper. Often mixed with PVA or methylcellulose.
  Wheat Starch: Slightly different than wheat paste, some prefer it, primarily conservationists, because it seems to have a little better quality in terms of adhesion, and flexibility of uses.
  Vellum: When not being used as a term synonomous with parchment, it refers to a paper surface that has a smooth or fine texture. It is also used to designate a translucent paper, originally used as a drawing paper, but more recently for invitations.