A few weeks ago I had a comment from Laurence asking about Piercing templates and where to get them. So for Laurence and anyone else needing assistance here is an idea of what they are and how to make your own.
What Is A Piercing Template?
It is no more than a card pattern used to place into a stack of folded sheets ‘known as a signature’, which you pierce through, to make the holes through which you will sew your book together.
What Size Is A Template?
There are many different bindings and the size of your template will vary to match the size of your book. Well the height of the spine of the book 😉
The placement of the holes on the template will vary to match the type of bind you are doing. For example if you are sewing across tapes on the spine of the book, the gap between the holes would be the width of your tape. So you can see any template is custom made to the project it is being used for.
How Do I Make My Own Template?
Pencil, ruler with steel edge, scoring tool, bone folder, piercing tool, signatures to the size of your project and 220gsm card (I’m pointing at it to show it is the same size as the signatures), a foam mat, and a self healing cutting mat.
- You will first need to decide what type of binding you wish to use for your project, and the size you want to make your book. This will dictate the size of the template and the position of the holes.
- Take a piece of sturdy card 220gsm would be ok or a little thicker if you have it. Cut it to match the height of the spine of your book, and about 2″ or 5cm wide.
- Score your card along the centre of the long side and fold it in half length ways. Use a scoring tool and ruler to score your line, and a bone folder to reinforce the fold. This will ensure you have a clean accurate fold.
- Using a ruler mark where you want to pierce the holes. The instructions from the book you are copying your binding from will give you these measurements or a guide for how to calculate them to fit your project. Mark in the centre of the inside or ‘valley’ of your fold.
- Place your card board template on to a foam mat, you could use the soft side of a mouse mat, but do put a self healing cutting underneath in case you pierce right through.
- Using a piercing tool, of the same diameter as the needle you will sew with, pierce a hole into your card board directly into the centre of the ‘valley’ fold.
Congratulations, you have now created your piercing template, it is as simple as that. If you use a sturdy cardstock to create your template and are careful as you pierce your signatures, you will be able to re-use your template for more than one book.
How Do I Use My Template?
- One of the most accurate ways to use a template is with a piercing saddle. This is usually a wooden structure that will have a ‘V’ shaped holder, that you place your pre folded but open signatures into, your template on top and then pierce through the pages. There is a small gap in the saddle that will allow the tool to pass cleanly through the pages and out the other side.
- If you do not have one of these (like me then) you could try these alternatives.
- A mouse mat, soft side up on a self healing cutting mat.
- A sheet of foam, they sell 12 x 12″ sheets of this for rubber stampers to use as a cushion to stamp onto, they are about 1cm thick. Again place this ontop of a self healing cutting mat to protect your work surface.
Here is a picture of how I hold the signatures to ensure that I pierce through the centre fold NOT to the left or right of it. If you use this method you will need to be very careful about where the holes come out, go slowly and you will be fine.
I hope this has been of help, if you would like more information on piercing saddles and how to make one do check out http://www.tjbookarts.com/ as they have a tutorial on this and many other aspects of book binding. Their forum is also very welcoming and friendly especially to newbies. There is a link to it in the side pannel of this blog.
Best wishes and thanks for reading, any questions or comments let me know and I will get back to you.