Hyung-Sun Kim


The Bible has been the largest selling book title in the world. However, very little research of Bible binding techniques has been done. Most Bibles contain more than two thousand pages of Bible paper. Therefore, such books are usually thick and heavy. Thin bible papers provide very little strength for the joint. The strength and durability of a bound product depends on good joint adhesion. The goal of this study was to investigate various joint constructions between the cover and the bookblock of Smyth-sewn Bible bindings. The spine lining and endpaper reinforcement are two most important factors of joint construction. Loose back and tubular lining are techniques used to reinforce adhesion of the bookblock to the cover. Whipstitched signature and hinged endpaper are two major endpaper reinforcement techniques of Bible bindings. 78 Bibles were tested utilizing UBT tumble test, Hingepull test, and Page-pull test. The books were approximately 6" x 9" in size, weighed three pounds using the same Bible papers. The results were analyzed by a two-way ANOVA with optional Duncan Multiple-Range Test at a 95% confidence level, and compared with the hypotheses concerning bookbinding strength and durability. Furthermore, graphical analyses were made by plotting treatment means for each tests. Firstly, it was questioned if there were any significant differences in the Smyth-sewn hardcover Bible binding strength between the different spine lining constructions of loose back and tubular liner. The statistical analysis and the graphical analysis of UBT tumble test results indicated that there was evidence of extreme differences in durability due to spine lining constructions, and that books constructed with tubular liner looked to be much more durable than books constructed in loose back. On the contrary, the analyses of Hinge-pull test results revealed that there was no significant variability due to spine lining constructions. This considerable discrepancy would result from the nature of the test methods and the nature of materials used. It seemed that in each tests, the stresses and forces distressed the tubular liner materials in the different ways to make them fail during testing. However, the UBT tumble test is considered to have shown and given the best correlation to the physical breakdown of books in actual use. Thus it would be reasonable to conclude that tubular liner constructions are assumed to increase binding durability as compared to loose back constructions. Secondly, it was questioned if there were any significant differences in the strength of Smyth-sewn hardcover Bible bindings between the different endpaper constructions of four-page tipped-on endpaper, hinged endpaper, and whipstitched signature. The statistical and graphical analyses of UBT tumble test and Hinge-pull test indicated that there was evidence of significant differences in durability among three different endpaper constructions, and that books constructed with hinged endpaper reinforcement was more durable than books constructed with four-page tipped-on endpaper and whipstitched signature. Surprisingly the most inferior endpaper construction in durability was whipstitched signature reinforcement construction. Whipstitching resulted in the highest page-pull values, but it seemed to make the first and last signature areas relatively stiff so that, if tumbled, destructive forces and stress took havoc with the poorly flexing hinges. The books which were bound with hinged endpaper reinforcement (for both spine lining constructions of tubular liner and loose back) and the books which were bound with four-page tipped-on endpaper and tubular liner showed a significant superiority in binding strength and durability to others.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Bible--Publication and distribution; Bookbinding--Technique--Analysis; Endpapers--Testing--Analysis

Publication Date


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Department, Program, or Center

School of Print Media (CIAS)


Rebsamen, Werner


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: Z271.K534 1989


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