Orientation to Leather

 Registration is closed for this event

May 13th, 2023 9:30 AM

  • Instructor: Juliayn Coleman
  • Workshop Type: Binding
  • Workshop Status: Wait-list
  • Sessions: 1
  • In-person or Online?: In-person

Workshop Fee (includes materials fee): $245

This instructor requires that all students be masked. If you choose to enroll you will be expected to bring and wear a mask for the duration of class.

It is impossible to imagine the history of bookbinding without leatherwork, and difficult to advance in learning bookbinding without having some skill or understanding of how leather is used in making books. Fancy books, plain ones, rustic or refined, historical and modern all have used leather in some fashion. Even many books without the tiniest scrap of leather still have borrowed working methods from leather bookbinding. This introduction to the advanced track in leatherwork for bookbinding helps students cross the frontier of those remote and mysterious tools and techniques commonly used in leather bookbinding today.

The first half of the class will explain and demonstrate the technical aspects of knives, and you will experience how to get and maintain a great edge. We will look at the various advantages and disadvantages of PSA abrasive sheets, Japanese water stones, oil stones, and stropping compounds. We will also explain the different surfaces available for using your knife, and how they act on knives: litho stones, marble, and tempered glass. If you have a knife for leather working that has dulled or lost its shape, and you'd like to learn how to tune it up yourself, please bring it to work on. 

The second half of the class will focus on the various methods used to pare leather: edge paring with knives, and all-over paring with a Schärf-Fix or Brockman paring machine. There will be plenty of time for guided practice on your own in order to gain confidence with this essential skill. For those who learn quickly, paring for onlays and labels will be covered.

This workshop is a prerequisite for the Leather Core bookbinding workshops at the San Francisco Center for the Book.


>> Prerequisite: None <<

Materials to Bring: None. All tools and materials will be provided. The class fee includes an edge paring knife for students to keep for use in future leather workshops and leather bookbinding work.

Date & Time: Saturday, May 13, 2023 :: 9:30am-5:30pm

Location: 375 Rhode Island St, San Francisco, CA 94103

NOTE: Please read over the SFCB Registration Policies before signing up for a class. Registration will close three days prior to the start date of the workshop to allow the instructor time to prep materials for class. 

About the Instructor | Juliayn Coleman (she/her)

Juliayn Coleman has been a professional bookbinder since her graduation from the North Bennet Street School bookbinding program in 2003. Her private practice encompasses all levels of book repair and conservation, custom portfolio and enclosure making, teaching, and being a good ambassador for the craft of bookbinding in general. Some of her creative and professional projects can be seen at  www.bookislandbindery.com.

Past Student Reviews:

“I loved the hands on aspect. I appreciated how thorough and clear the instructor was, and how I was able to practice with different tools and equipment. I liked that it was a supportive and positive environment. It's also just fun to be in a place where everyone is so passionate about books!”

"Good introduction to leather and knife sharpening.”

“I loved learning how to properly learn to care for the tool as well as use it.”

“I liked that the workshop was broken up in two halves - one for sharpening and one for paring. The amount of time was perfect for getting both done (which both took surprisingly long!). I also like that there was no specific project for the day since it would have taken away from the focus on the skills we were learning. Juliayn was an amazing teacher as always!”

375 Rhode Island St
San Francisco, CA 94103-5133
United States