[Portable Poetry ...poems for your pocket]












[The book printer - Amman]

Making Custom Books

Step 6: Create the signature(s)

Each A4 page is folded twice to produce a signature of 16 pages or a "quarto" ("signature" basically means the resulting folded down sheet). Depending on the size of the booklet, the number of signatures in the finished booklet can vary from 1 to 3 (each signature being 16 pages in length). Folding has to be done carefully, following certain rules to avoid things like creasing and "crow's feet" on the paper. Once finished, a quarto looks like the one shown below:


fig 7: the uncut quarto

Once we have the folded down quarto, the next step is to cut it to produces the pages. To do this I use a Dahle 561 paper cutter which has a pressure bar to hold the quarto in place while it's been cut. This is show below:

[paper cutter]

fig 8: using the paper cutter

After its visit to the haircutter's, the signature is as shown below.


fig 8: short back and sides

The paper clip and strip of paper shown in the photo are used to more easily identify each booklet later when printing batches of customer orders - see below.


fig 9: a litter of portable poetries!

Step 7: Add the endsheets and the cover

Next I add the endsheets...


fig 10: endsheets

... and then the cover.


fig 11: cover

Step 8: Make the Sewing Stations

"Sewing stations" is a term used to refer to the holes that will be used to sew the cover, fly leaves, and signatures together. Depending on the size of the booklet the number of holes pierced varies - below is for a 16 page booklet but for a 48 page booklet I use 5 sewing stations for added strength.

[sewing stations]

fig 12: Making the sewing stations

You can see the finished result below:

[finished sewing stations]

fig 13: finished sewing stations

Step 10: Do the Sewing

Now that the sewing stations are in place, the booklet can be bound. Because portable poetries use non-adhesive binding, it's all done with needle and thread. You can see this below. If you're thinking that it looks like a funny way to be sewing, that's because my other hand is holding the camera!


fig 12: Sewing

Once completed, you can see what the binding looks like when viewed from the spine (I think it looks quite nice myself!):


fig 14: finished booklet

Step 10: Send Portable Poetry to Customer

Now we have our Portable Poetry, the only step remaining is to set it winging on its way to its new owner. This involves an envelope and a trip to the post office but, as I don't want to give all my secrets away, I will leave you to guess the details :)

That about wraps things up. I hope you found it interesting. To get back to the main "Stuff" page, select "STUFF" below or use the links at the top of the page to go elesewhere within the site.



Copyright 2001,
The Portable Poetry Company