Bookbinding Classes 2013

All classes except Intermediate Bookbinding are open to all skill levels. The classes listed below are all located at the San Francisco Center for the Book at 375 Rhode Island Street in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco (this is a new location as of January 2013). The 10, 19, and 22 MUNI bus lines all have stops within a block of the Center.  To register for these classes, call the Center at 415-565-0545 or click on the link within each description below to be taken to that workshop's page within

I also offer a wide range of private tutoring in special topics; please inquire if you have a specific area of interest. Past lessons have included boxmaking, book conservation and basic paper repair techniques, edge gilding, basic photo albums and portfolios, and more. For rates, topics, and logistics, call or email me.

Occasionally I also attend SFCB's Open Print Studio as a sort of bookbinding advisor. People who rent space in the bindery on these nights have the benefit of my advice on their individual projects should they wish it. I also work on my own projects, and thus a collegial attitude toward the goal of problem-solving is achieved. If you want to be notified the next time we get together, email or call and I will put you on my list.

The Decorated Edge

A beautifully decorated edge can be a highly expressive part of a fine binding or artist’s book. From subtle to funky, decorated edges add a special touch to the textblocks they adorn. In this class we will learn several techniques used in edge decoration, focusing on three basic materials: ink, graphite, and 23K gold leaf. On the first day, we cover sprinkling all along an edge and in patterns with two colors. We will also learn how to use graphite on an edge, and create a perfectly smooth surface. This experience will get us ready for day two, which will be devoted solely to gilding with 23K gold leaf in the basic method taught by Hugo Peller at Ascona. Some experience handling gold leaf will be helpful, but is not necessary.
Saturday and Sunday, October 5 and 6; 9:30-5:30 Register/more information

Basic Book Repair: The Cloth Reback
Cloth repair13

In this class, learn the steps necessary to repair ailing cloth-bound books. Developed through decades of use in conservation labs and private studios alike, this style of repair allows the practitioner to safely disbind books with integrity and respect for the original structure; the style follows a conservation-oriented ethic of saving every part of the original material. The cloth reback process can be varied to attend to the many different problems books can have, but all variations are based on the foundational method taught.
Eight Wednesday evenings, October 2-November 20; 6:30-10/ or, four weekdays: October 21-24.  Register/more information

Beginning Bookbinding
Lovely *and* fun

Beginning Bookbinding is the first half of the SFCB Bookbinding Certificate program. In this class, we begin to get more confortable using glue in our books. We learn how to make well-fitting cases and case in with no tears (or tears). We’ll also learn alternatives to the cased-in style, such as onset boards. All the books we make in this class are sewn by hand using a variety of techniques. Coming out of this class, youo will feel confident in your bookbinding abilities and be able to problem-solve your individual project needs.
Four Saturdays: October 19 and 26, November 2 and 9; 9:30-5:30. Register/more information

Intermediate Bookbinding
This workshop employs the skills learned in Beginning Bookbinding and is a good introduction to working with leather. The first half of the class teaches how to use a sewing frame, and how to sew endbands using silk thread.  Participants will make one rounded and one backed book with double-folio endsheets and cloth and decorative paper covers.
The second half of the class will be essential preparation for anyone intending to learn leather bookbinding. The instructor will first guide you through the sharpening and upkeep of paring knives, specifically the English-style knife. After learning to pare leather to various thicknesses on the Sharf-Fix machine, a full-leather binding will be made in goat skin over thin boards with blind tooling (a decorative technique). This binding, sometimes called a limp leather binding, is based on a historical binding often used for diaries or devotional texts.
Five Sundays, November 10-December 15 (skipping the Thanksgiving holiday weekend), 9:30-5:30. Register/more information