Whether you are using pre-prepared or made boards now is the time to measure up and trim to size.
Before we do this we have to trim the protruding edge of excess endpaper along the fore edge. This excess is due to the rounding and backing process, but it gives us a false edge to measure to, so it must be trimmed.
To do this, place a piece of waste board into the joint of the book to protect the backed spine. Then slide a metal ruler underneath the pages at the fore edge on top of the endpaper, lining the ruler up with last page. Using a sharp scalpel trim the excess endpaper, then repeat the process for the other edge.
Now take your oversized boards and trim the spine and tail edges to 90°. Now place the board fully up against the spine joint and then mark the lip around the tail, fore edge and head. This lip measurement is up to you, but I personally feel anything more than 3 or 4mm is a little excessive.
Trim the back board first then using this as a template trim the front board.
We now need to mark where we are going to punch the holes for the tapes.
Along the spine edge of each board mark a line 6 or 7mm in. place the board up against the joint and pull the tape tight over the marked line. Now with a needle or awl mark the centre of the tape on the line. Then place the boards aside for now.
Our next stage is to glue a ‘fence’ to the joint. This serves a couple of purposes. Firstly, it creates a space for the tapes to occupy when the book is opened. Also it stops the leather pulling the boards too tight against the joint when drying. It needs to be double the thickness of the tape and the length of the book and the width of the boards. You may need to laminate different papers to get the thickness right. The fence will be removed along with the waste sheet at the very end. Glue the fence to the Joint with a little PVA and leave to dry.
When the fences are dry our next stage is to fray out the tapes. This is where the use of pliester tapes makes life that little bit easier. Most cotton tapes are woven with a bead along either one or both edges, making fraying out agony. You can lace on your boards without fraying but there’s a lot of cutting into the board and that could get messy.
Using a needle or awl open the weave and fray out each tape right down to the sewing.
Next with a little paste taper the ends and let them dry to harden off.
Now take your boards and punch the holes for the tapes where we marked them earlier. The holes don’t want to be more than 2 or 3mm in diameter.
When the tape ends are dry push them through the corresponding holes.
To position the boards properly have some pressing boards up against the spine so that the board is supported when open. Hold the board at 90° to the book and right into the joint. Pull the tapes through the holes tightly and close up the holes on the inside with the point of a bone folder to grip the tapes.
Now, whilst holding the board in the joint, lower it gently closed. The tapes will now have the appearance of being tight, but still allow board to open freely.
When you are satisfied that boards are correct open gently so as not to disturb the tapes and rest the board on the pressing boards pushed up against the spine. Snip the excess tape off leaving around 2cm.
Paste the board under the tape, fan it out and stick it down. Do each tape one at a time, you may find a needle helps when fanning out. Repeat the process for the other side.
You now need to let the tapes dry thoroughly. I use thin acetate as a buffer between board and book to prevent the tape sticking to the book. Then leave under weighted boards until dry.
Our final stage is to knock down the tapes to give them a flatter profile. For this I use my backing hammer and the heavy duty steel stone I have for leather paring, but any strong surface would do I think.
The boards are now laced on and the book is ready for our next stage, the Headbands.