Japanese stab binding is probably the most well-known form of hand-sewn binding. It exudes luxury in the very best sense of the word. “Stab binding” refers to a sewing technique that has been used in recent centuries by Japanese, Korean and Chinese bookbinders.
How it’s Done
The pages and covers of a book are gathered, then 4-6 holes are drilled about 1 cm from the spine. Then the book is stitched together with a heavy thread or cord.
Instead of binding the book through the folds of the signatures like we would with saddle stitching, the stitches run along the side of the booklet and wrap across the spine. (For a wonderful example of this in action, check out this beautiful photo book.)
The stitch can be a simple Stab stitch or more intricate variations such as Tortoise Shell or Hemp Leaf. The obvious advantage here is that you can include loose sheets in the text block.
The disadvantage: 1 cm can be a substantial margin to lose on a page. Plus, anything that’s bound on the side will mousetrap – the book will try to close again instantly – and the thicker the book, the more it will do this.
Be sure to grab your copy of our new, expanded Binding Cheat Sheet today!