Notre-Dame De Paris complete rebind

First, a little history on the book. When George Macy (LEC President) announced to the members of the Limited Editions Club that an upcoming printing of Victor Hugo's classic Notre-Dame De Paris was not only going to be printed in Paris, it was going to to be bound French style, the members were elated. Imagine their surprise when the mail man delivered a paper back book. What most members didn't realize was that "French Style" meant the book was sewn loosely together, pages usually uncut, and then bound in a thick paper wrapper. This binding style is perfectly adequate if you do like the French do (did) and take it to your family binder and have it matched to your library. So many members complained that Mr. Macy agreed to bind the books in hardcover if the member was willing to ship the books back. Which brings us to the binding job at hand.

The two volume set I rebound was one of the originals still in French Wraps. They have obviously been read as the spines had begun to seperate (the books were never meant to be read in the original wraps. As opposed to a typical paperback that is drowned in glue, only a thin layer is used in French Wraps so as to make it easier on the binder to remove the cover).


For the binding itself I decided to go all out and do a heavy pack medieval binding. What this means is that when sewing with cords, instead of making the cords flush with the spine, I left them protruding. This creates the "raised bands" that you might have seen on fancy leather books (although there's a good chance that those books are using fake bands). The "heavy pack" is referring to the sewing technique that wraps the cord twice as much as usual so that the finished cord looks something like this...


Not only does this technique provide a nice even surface on the cord for attaching the leather it also creates strength in the spine and helps prevent it from concaving when the book is opened.

The other aspect of medieval binding is that cords are connected directly to the coverboards not just by glue but by threading them through small holes....


(by the way, that green paper being used for the endsheets is what's called elephant hide paper. This was my first time using it and it won't be my last. Very cool stuff!)

I still had some French Goatskin left over from the Ulysses project (Optics Press No.1 SOLD OUT, stay tuned for the announcement of No.2!) and decided to to do a 3/4 style binding with leather corners. In case you didn't check out my last post, here's a short film showing the entire binding process...

For the case I decided to do a deluxe version of a typical slipcase. Instead of the usual paper lining I chose instead to use velvet. Not only that but I devised a way to have the velvet go all the way to the egde with a nice finished end so that the books would rub up against nothing else. The satin pull ribbon goes without saying...


The book in the middle is actually a hardcover portfolio I made (using the same materials as the books) to showcase the original French Wrap covers. Here's a video showing the finished books as well as the portfolio...

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