A single sewing support made of a thick strip of alum-tawed or tanned skin which is noticeably wider than it is thick and which will create raised bands across the spine.
Sewing supports secured by passing the threads across them on the spine, but not encircling them with thread (wound supports). Recessed supports could be sewn this way from the late 16th century and flat tape supports from at least the mid-18th century.
Strap-type sewing supports in alum-tawed, tanned skin or parchment, which have been split usually into two elements across the spine to create double supports or, very rarely, into three elements to create triple supports (the only recorded example, made from alum-tawed skin, was found on a late 15th-century German binding). In some cases the splits will only extend to the width of the spine, in others, the slips at either left or right will be split beyond the width of the spine. This feature will normally indicate the direction of the sewing as the split slips will be found at the end of the sewing process rather than at the beginning.
A type of secondary stitching in which thongs, usually alum-tawed, are stabbed through the spine edge of a bookblock level with the positions otherwise taken by the sewing supports. This type of secondary stitching was typically used in England and not in France.
A guard folded around the spine edge of the bookblock through which the gatherings are sewn in a longstitch structure. A full cover could then be folded over the pierced guard, or the pierced guard might be placed inside a full cover and both sewn through at the same time. Alternatively, a case might be attached to the pierced-guard sewing support by means of secondary tackets.
Pierced supports in the form of full covers. Whole covers form an integral part of many longstitch, chainstitch and external support bindings, and may be made of parchment, cartonnage, and tanned or alum-tawed skin, and may also be used in combination with whole-spine pierced supports and multiple pierced supports.
Bindings where the thread is taken through a case-type cover and around external sewing supports place on the spine of the cover.
The two elements of the supports are encircled by the sewing thread which does not therefore pass between them. This was an economy introduced by the mid 17th century that retained the strength of the board attachment, but greatly reduced the time taken to sew the bookblock.
Nicholas Pickwoad (1994), “Onward and Downward: How Binders Coped with the Printing Press before 1800”, in A Millennium of the Book: Production, Design and Illustration in Manuscript and Print 900-1900, edited by Michael Harris and Robin Myers, Publishing Pathways 8, Winchester, St. Paul’s Bibliographies, pp. 61–106.
The process of lacing sewing-support and/or endband slips through boards.
Structures in which gatherings are sewn through the fold to either sewing supports or pierced sewing supports, as opposed to unsupported sewing structures that do not have any type of sewing support.