This blogpost is especially for Shannon, who likes to read my bindery workbench news
with her cuppa at morning tea time.
It's about endbands, why books have them, how they are made,
and where you can see some bonza olde-worlde sewn ones very soon here in Ballarat,
made by yours-truly :).
Endbands are found at each end (the head and tail) of the book spine, between the textblock (pages part) and the cover (outside part) of the book. In this photo, you can see black and white striped ones. These ones are cut from half-inch wide, pre-made tape, like these below from the Talas binding supplies company:
You cut them to length and glue them to the textblock before other linings go on. They are not structural, as endbands once were, and certainly not as romantic, but they look the part, and have done since way back in the early 17th century when bindings became common enough to want to do them more cheaply. They aesthetically resolve the transition between spine and cover, prevent some dust and grime from entering the gap in a hollowback book, and give at least a little support to the spine ends.
Here is an example of place-ribbons and glued-on endbands on a large Roman Missal:
Their original purpose though, was structural and substantial - an essential sewn binding of the page sections to each other, and to the spine. It worked with the endcaps (bookcover spine end coverings) to protect the textblock as you pull the book off the shelf by hooking your finger over the headcap (especially important to avoid these days now that endbands are only decorative). Here are some examples:
|Wow - if the headcap is in trouble, imagine the mess if there was no sewn endband!|
|Gilded headcap and double core sewn endbands, from OneRareBook. Beautiful.|
Endbands are a part of the book that you may not have noticed before, but after this, will probably say "oh yeah, so there is - who knew?!", and then notice them all the time.
Hey Shannon - tea time over - get back to work! ;P