japanese ledger binding: a tutorial

Not that it’s much of a tutorial. I drew these instructions a couple of years ago, fully intending to post them…and then forgot. Or was distracted by other things. Not very hard to believe, if you know me! I was asked for more information about a ledger bind I previously posted, so here is what I know.

This is about as simple of a bind as you can get…it just looks complicated. The most difficult part is gluing it all together and keeping it aligned. This bind should be landscape, or wider than it is tall.

Start with a book block made of single sheets. You’ll need to drill three evenly spaced holes at least half an inch in from the spine edge, though ultimately where you place your holes depends on how wide your book is.

I generally cut a thicker piece of paper to wrap around the book block, like below. It isn’t necessary, but it makes the spine look much cleaner and if the paper of your book block is thin, the thicker paper is more durable.

Sew the block together by starting in the middle hole, and making a figure eight. Tie off. Cut the ends of your thread short, but they don’t have to be tucked in or hidden.

brh tutorial002a

The boards for the front cover should leave a gap that is twice the thickness of the board. If you skimp on the gap, your book will not open all the way. Don’t go overboard with the gap though, because the section of the cover with board #2 will flop too much and be more likely to eventually rip off. Board #3 should be wide enough to cover the stitching.

Glue the boards to the book block. I generally glue them in the order they are numbered below.

brh tutorial002b

A look at the finished product:

A blank journal for a friend

japanese ledger bind2

An art history paper for grad school. I had to make four copies of this book.

japanese ledger bind1

Hope that helps! If something doesn’t make sense, leave me a comment and I’ll try to clarify.