The Monastic Endband

Primary end band of linen
Step 1. Primary endband of linen on the top of the spine

I am working on another book. This one is a collection of Yeats’ poems and stories combined with my photographs as center spreads. It is a small intimate book that fits in the palm of the hand. I have finished the edge decoration on the top and bottom book edges and have moved on to the end bands.

Step 1: The first photo shows a simple primary end band of linen thread sewn around a folded alum-tawed leather core that is wrapped in mulberry paper. The Monastic end band is sewn over a primary end band using 2 needles. The ones shown in the photographs are gold needles and glide smoothly through the basic band threads. Each needle holds a colored thread. The colored threads are embroidered over the primary band.

Step 2: The needle with the navy color thread is passed under the primary band and around the hanging green thread to create a bead on the back of the spine and to anchor the green thread over the top of the primary band.

Monastic Endband Step 1
Step 2: The Monastic endband’s green thread makes a spine bead.

Step 3: The navy thread is passed through the green thread creating a herringbone braid at the top of the band.

Monastic Endband Step 2
Step 3: The Monastic endband navy thread forming the braid.

Step 4: The navy thread is looped over the top braid and the green thread passes over the navy and under the primary band. The navy thread becomes locked into place with the green thread becoming part of the spine bead.

Monastic Endband Step 3
Step 4: The Monastic endband’s navy thread locked into place.

Step 5: The green thread passes through the looped navy thread extending the herringbone braid.

Monastic Endband Step 4
Step 5: The Monastic endband’s green thread extends the top braid.

When finished, the end band creates a wonderful herringbone braided top edge. Historically, the end band was designed to protect the spine of the book. If one thinks about how a book is typically pulled from a shelf, the top of the spine is often pulled with a forefinger to tilt the book off the shelf. Over time, the stress on the spine top breaks the spine. The end band helps reinforce the top edge and give it strength.

Monastic End band finished
Completed Monastic endband.

11 thoughts on “The Monastic Endband

    1. Thank you for your feedback. The end band is great fun to do and very easy. I always use two needles. I haven’t tried more or less than 2 colors but would be interesting to experiment with.

  1. Hello

    Sorry, but I couldn’t find your name from your website.

    My name is Richard Norman.

    For 30 years my wife and I ran Eden Workshops, a system of craft workshops at Downside Abbey in Somerset. We were primarily bookbinders but dabbled in marbling and printing.

    In 2004 we closed our workshops and retired to the south west of France, where we have lived for the past 7 years.

    We had a website during the last few years we were running the bindery, and to remain involved in bookbinding, and to keep me mentally active, I have devoted my efforts during the past 7 years to developing our website.

    Eden Workshops is currently number 6 on page 1 of for the search term “bookbinding”.

    We have devoted a great deal of energy to our site, and it has a great deal of very high quality content.

    We have an extensive system of link pages, and I am writing to ask you if you if you would be willing to exchange links with us.

    Google will look very kindly on a link to our site, because we enjoy such high search engine ranking, so it would be to your advantage to consider this request.

    You can find us at

    Thank you for your time.

    Kind Regards

    Richard Norman

    Eden Workshops
    St Sulpice Lauriere
    Home Tel: 0033 (0) 555 712142

  2. Hi! Just discovered your blog through pinterest. I was wondering if you have any post regarding the details on how you painted the edge of the book. That would be of great help if you can link me to it. Thanks a lot!! loving your work.

  3. Buenos días Esther, es un bello trabajo, gracias por permitir verlo paso a paso. Tengo 66 años y estoy empezando a encuaderna, con este trabajo se que no me equivoque en escoger aprender esta asignación. Gracias

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