Cloth

Images and text by Garry Harrison,
Head, Circulating Collections Conservation,
Indiana University Libraries Preservation Department


Shown below are the various types of cloth used in our lab. Buckram, canapetta, cialux, and sailcloth are used for covering; the remainder for functional purposes. The close-up images attempt to convey an idea of relative coarseness/fineness of weave, and the dime serves as a scale reference.


Buckram

Buckram

This is a heavy, durable cloth which is starched for stiffness, as opposed to having a paper backing, as in the case of both canapetta and cialux. Buckram is a good utility cloth, used for the spines of wrappers, pamphlet-type binders made in-house, and grey/white board portfolio-type enclosures. It is available in 4" wide rolls, which makes it very handy for these enclosure spine applications. Buckram can also be used as cover material for book repair treatments but is not generally our cloth of choice for this.

The exposed surface of the bolt of buckram in this image is the backside of the cloth. The gloss is due to starching.


Canapetta

Canapetta

This is an Italian book cloth that is durable, fairly resistant to staining from adhesives, and pleasing to the eye. Its prominent counter-grain provides the tactile and visual sensation of strength. It comes in a wide variety of colors and works well for all repairs, cloth-covered enclosures, and new cases for books.


Cialux

Cialux

This book cloth is highly flexible, has a smooth texture and a fine weave, and comes in a variety of colors. However, it is less forgiving than Canapetta in regard to glue staining, if adhesive comes in contact with the show side of the fabric.


Cotton backliner

Cotton backliner

In casebinding, the super is the part of the book that holds the text block in the cover, by means of being adhered to both. We keep two types of super cloth on hand, a medium weight muslin (pictured) and a heavier, flannel-backed variety is used for extra strength. This latter is normally used on large and/or heavy books. Many books use a thin gauze-like cloth to hold the book together. Not surprisingly, this type of super tends to fail, so although it is still available (and still widely used for new books), we abstain from using it.


Hinge cloth

Hinge cloth

This is a thin linen which has been starched or sized and is quite strong for its weight. It is the material used for the hinges of new end sheets and for new headbands of books receiving higher-level treatments.

Here is pictured hinge cloth in the pre-cut form in which it is normally used.


Sailcloth

Sailcloth

A substantial canvas, sail cloth is available in large-width bolts and is thus used primarily for covering large enclosures, most commonly those of the portfolio type.


Stretch cloth

Stretch cloth

This is used for the super of adhesive-bound books bound by the double-fan process we use here. Because it is stretchy, it allows the book to lay flat when opened, reducing the potential for damage due to over-opening, as when photocopying.


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