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An indispensable tool for punching holes in sections before sewing. It is important to use the right awl for the job. Size is everything! Volcano Arts sells a common bookbinder's awl and also a heavier duty awl.

Yes, that lovely smelling wax has a useful purpose in making books! An indispensable product that every bookbinder should have on their table. Use it to wax linen (thread) before sewing or use it to bring the edges of your leather journal to a high gloss. Volcano Arts sells 1 oz. bars of beeswax for your convenience. 

Binder's Linen
Linen is used to sew the signatures of a book together. While there are other opinions, Volcano Arts recommends that you use waxed linen when sewing your books. You can purchase linen either waxed or not. Use heavier linens when you really want your knot patterns to show (i.e. Coptic stitch). 

Binder's Needles
Needles are used to sew the signatures of a book together. There are a lot of schools of thought about what size to use, but Volcano Arts recommends that you use a needle that is long (length) enough to use comfortably and is the smallest size (diameter) possible to use with your linen choice. A rule of thumb is to use the smallest awl, linen and needle possible to achieve the look you want.

Book Board
A pH neutral ('acid free'), 100% recycled, heavy duty board made for book binders. This product is far superior to chipboard as it resists warping and isn't two sheets glued together.

Book Cloth
A fabric that is backed with a barrier to prevent glue from seeping through it. Volcano Arts only carries quality, paper backed book cloth.
Our high quality book cloth is imported from Japan, therefore it is limited to stock on hand.

A piece of paper folded in half is called a folio. One nests folios together to form a signature.

Have you ever noticed that little band of cloth at the top and bottom of the inside of the spine of some books? What a beautiful finish! It's mostly for aesthetic purposes, but helps keep dust out of the spine of a book and gives a book a very polished look. It's almost always called 'headband' even though it is most often used at the head and tail of the book. Contemporary bookbinders are starting to call it 'endband.'

Hole Punching Cradle
A product used for cradling your signatures so that you can use your awl to punch holes in them. It can be difficult with other methods to get your holes even. If you use a cradle, your holes will line up beautifully every time! Volcano Arts sells a kit for making your own book board cradle. Easy assembly using a little glue and cloth tape (i.e. duct tape) is required and step-by-step directions are included. For an extra charge we'll assemble it for you.

Japanese Screw Punch
Used for punching holes in stacks of paper and light boards. Extremely easy to use and it requires almost no hand strength. Volcano Arts sells ours with 7 different sized tips (which easily screw into the tool). You usually see them with only 1 to 3 tips. The ultra sharp tips are excellent for making holes in fragile materials such as papyrus and the holes are very crisp (not ragged or blown out). Also great for making holes in books sewn through the spine.

The groove on the front and back of a book where the covers meet the spine. In an album or stab-bound book, a wider joint will allow the cover to open all the way flat.

Linen Tape
When sewing a book by hand, it is common to sew over tapes. The tapes we sell are acid free, sturdy web linen/cotton.

Each nested grouping of pages is called a signature. Also called a 'section' or a 'gathering.' Historically in Europe they were called 'quires.'


  • An "L" shaped tool used to find right angles and "square up" paper and board
  • The overhang of board around a bookblock

Weaver's Knot
The knot used by bookbinders to attach a new piece of thread when they run out in the middle of a sewing. Detailed drawings and instructions are here.