How I learned the Craft of Book Binding

I learned book binding جلد بندی from my relative Ehtisham Haider Chacha (منّو چچا) . I went with him to Raja Bazar, Rawalpindi  in 1975-76 when I was in 8th class and living in Islamabad. He helped me buy the needle, thick thread, and glossy paper sheet, scissors,  etc. He then taught me how to prepare home made glue (میدہ کی لئی ), make holes in the book, thread the book with needle, attach thick card from used  hard binding of copies,  tie it to the thread, cut it, put the spine cloth, glue it and paste the glossy paper. I used this skill to bind hundreds of books in my home collection. I still have a few of those bound books with me. Unfortunately I could not get the opportunity to graduate to the finer art of جزو بندی which is a more involved craft requiring sewing with fine thread different parts (جزو)  of the book.

See the sewing of one of the binding that is exposed of this book

I was encouraged by my mother into this book binding project. She motivated me that one need to learn crafts skills (like book binding) so that during adversity one has the skills to survive. She told me about the plight of well to do people after partition who suddenly found themselves penny less when they lost their lands, jobs and privileges and had no skills or  craft with which to become self employed or survive.

These were the times when recycling and reuse was the order of the day. Most of the hardcovers thick cardboard came from the discarded school copies. Inner paper was often the brown cover used for covering the copies and books. There was so much emphasis on not wasting thread, paper or hard covers. I remember using the same scissors and the piercing tool for the next thrity years.
A similar piercing tool was used for making holes in the books.

Ehtisham Haider (منو چچا)
These are the surviving books with their binding.
I have taken pic of one with the sewing exposed.

Some of the surviving books with binding that I made in 1975-76

May Allah give the best of abodes in the hereafter to our teachers,  mentors and elders who enriched our lives. Aameen

These are Urdu Digests that have simply been sewen
without the binding but just the covers

This experience of book binding came to me handy while taking apart the pages for preservation of old manuscripts in crumbling bindings. See Preservation of Old Handwritten Bound Manuscripts-Deewan-e-Baqa by Shah Abdul Ghafoor Manikpuri 1854-1930
Work in Process


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