No, not the kind you wear on your hair. Nope. The kind that goes on the top of the spine of a book–you know, where you put your finger to pull a book off the shelf. Those little bands are called headbands, and they’re there to protect the spine.
Y’all have met Wendy Hale Davis, here. We were talking on the phone the other morning–I was stitching and she was working on finishing up her new journal– and she was trying to explain to me what she was doing on the spines, and I couldn’t *see* it, so she took a photo and sent it to me while we were talking.
Oh, OK. Now I get it!
Instead of a regular woven headband, she’s sewn beads to the top of the signatures. The idea is so cool that I thought it was something other book binders might want to try on their own journals. Here’s how Wendy explains it:
Headbands – sewn headbands – protect the crown and tail (top and bottom) of the spine of a book. Whatever material is used to cover the book – leather, cloth, paper – is unprotected on the spine. When a book is pulled off a shelf, it’s usually dragged off by hooking a finger in this unprotected area, and that’s where the headband comes in. It catches the finger so you don’t pull on the spine material itself. A true head band has substance. It’s usually a core of pliable paper wrapped with silks and anchored into the signatures of the book. Or it can be a row of beads anchored into the signatures. On modern commercial books, there is a vestigial headband; it’s just a piece of cloth glued to the spine of the book and offers no protection whatsoever. The beaded headband is – to my mind – a bit sturdier than the traditional silk-wound-around-a-core one. Each bead is anchored into a signature and the beads themselves are stronger than the core/silk combination. It sits quite tightly atop the book ready to stop your finger from disturbing the fragile spine.
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