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Concertina Spine
Sewn on Tapes

The concertina fold is also known as an accordion or zig-zag fold.

When a piece of paper is folded into a concertina and used to create the spine of a book, some appealing features are quickly recognized. For example, the concertina spine is ideal for accommodating the thickness of signatures of pages with fold outs, or material such as a photograph that is collaged onto the surface of the page. Another advantage of the non-adhesive concertina spine structure is that the book can open flat.

In this workshop you can expect to learn (1) to make a good, narrow concertina fold—one that stacks up squarely, (2) to evaluate papers for characteristics conducive to a successful concertina, and (3) to modify less than ideal papers in order to make them practical for use as a concertina.

You will complete one binding that has a non-adhesive spine sewn on tapes. This particular model features one piece of paper that serves both as the paste downs and the concertina spine (providing very appealing continuity). You will use a sewing frame as you sew together gatefold pages, the concertina, and the tapes.

More important than its strong design impact, the tapes serve structural purposes. They help snug the spine together into a compact form. The tape has an integrating function—both providing an element around which you sew and serving to connect the cover boards to the spine. While the concertina stabilizes the binding head to tail and spine to fore edge, the tapes stabilize the structure from cover board to cover board.

One of Daniel’s contributions to this structure is the inclusion of a wire along the spine edge of the cover board. The wire becomes an anchor and a pivot that acts very successfully as a hinge. This creates exceptionally harmonious movement of the tapes, concertina, and covers.

Your book will be made up of signatures of multiple folios but this structure is also perfectly suitable for binding gatefold pages. One strong advantage of the concertina spine is how it supports and holds signatures in a way that allows full movement of the pages.

The covers of your book will consist of cloth over a laminated core of book board and 2-ply. This marriage of materials allows for the wire to be nestled into the spine edge. The layer of 2-ply also offers the opportunity to include a recessed window on the cover. You can customize your model by adding a small image or label that fits in the window you cut from the 2-ply layer.

This workshop is a good opportunity to explore many of the issues essential to creating a successful structure.

All levels of experience are welcome.

Working on Anatomy Lesson: Unveiling the Fasciculus Medicinae, published by Robin Price, inspired Daniel to create this workshop.