Roman Wax Tablet

$ 350.00

July 1st, 2017 9:30 AM

  • Instructor: Michael Burke
  • Workshop Type: Binding
  • Workshop Status: Open
  • Workshop Start: July 1st, 2017 9:30 AM
  • Workshop End: July 2nd, 2017 5:30 PM
  • Sessions: 2

The Roman wax tablet, or pugillare, is the original Roman PDA. It was used for all sorts of written material of the time, from tax invoices and shopping lists to poetry. Letters were often sent in this form to soldiers at the frontiers of empire. Hundreds of examples of such tablets have been found along Hadrian's Wall in England, in the ancient Roman town of Vindolanda. They were made of many types of wood.

Our wax tablet book will have one front cover and one back cover, and up to three internal pages, making a pentaptych. The front and back covers will be pre-routed to make the going easier for participants to get their construction underway. Further pages can then be made in a similar manner.

The wooden panels will be routed, sanded, burnished and surface-waxed.  The panels will then be filled with molten beeswax colored black with soot. This model has a structure that is based upon an original  Roman wax tablet on display at the British Museum. The front cover design is plain flat board on the outside and recessed on the inside. The back cover design is exactly the same as the front one but is used as a mirror image in the book. Each internal page is recessed on both faces. The leaves are hinged together using a strong thread which passes through holes in the outer frame of the boards. 

Materials to Bring: Chisels; hand drill and small bits; sandpaper, various grits; scalpel and blades.

Optional and available at SFCB for student use during workshop: awl, bone folder, needles, sanding block, scissors, straight edge.

Workshop + Materials Fee: $350.00

Date & Time: Saturday & Sunday, July 1 & 2, 2017 :: 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


About the Instructor | Michael Burke

Michael Burke studied bookbinding with Dominic Riley and paper conservation with Karen Zukor. He lives in the Lake District, where he teaches bookbinding. In recent years he has taught and lectured at Society of Bookbinders conferences and seminars, and at Guild of Bookworkers meetings in the USA, as well as teaching tours in Australia, New Zealand and Brazil. Each year he teaches summer school at the San Francisco Center for the Book and across the USA. Michael researches the structures of ancient and medieval bindings, and has a Masters degree in the History of the Book from the University of London.

Past Student Reviews:

“Michael's enthusiasm is infectious. His ability to bring to life historical structures and the larger context of their production is a treat rarely to be savored in these types of workshops.”

"He's always a joy to take a class with.”

"“Thank you for his patience and good humor, very professional.”

$ 350.00
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103-5133
United States