Traditional Full Leather Binding

This event is currently full. However you can register now and get added to a waiting list. You will be notified if spaces become available.
$ 700.00

July 9th, 2018 9:30 AM

  • Instructor: Dominic Riley
  • Workshop Type: Binding
  • Workshop Status: Closed
  • Workshop Start: July 9th, 2018 9:30 AM
  • Workshop End: July 13th, 2018 5:30 PM
  • Sessions: 5

This style of binding dates back to the 1850s, and was used for both commercial and bespoke leather work for over a hundred years. Today it remains the favorite method for making fine leather bindings.

We’ll begin by sewing the book on tapes, then make the special marbled endpapers- the hallmark of fine bindings. The book will be carefully trimmed in the guillotine, then rounded and backed in the laying press. The book edges will be decorated the with a light sprinkle, burnishing and waxing to achieve a nice sheen. Then the book is laced into the boards, and elegant silk headbands are sewn on. Spine linings and a hollow are added, followed by the false raised bands that are characteristic of this style of binding.

When all these steps are completed, the book will be covered in leather. The finest English goatskin will be used for this, as is befitting a luxurious binding. Special attention will be given to leather paring techniques — emphasizing careful use of the spoke-shave and paring knife — as we pare the spine area and turn-ins very precisely so that the leather fits the book well.

After covering, the leather turn-ins are trimmed out and filled in with thin card to give a perfectly flat surface inside the boards. The endpapers are then pasted out and put down, and the book lightly pressed.

Following all these ‘forwarding’ steps, we will do some simple tooling on our books: a spine title label, and a gold line around the boards.

The completed book will be a beautiful example of a classic fine binding of the high Victorian age.


Materials to Bring: Scalpel — #4 handle, #25 blades (available from Havells), paring knife and spoke shave (both sharp), strop, cobblers’ knife, natural sponge, large paste brush. Students will be asked to bring a book to bind. It must be sewn, and in quite good condition, and not too large or thick (about the size of an average novel). You may want to bring a few to choose from.

Optional and available at SFCB for student use during workshop: Bone folder, metal ruler, dividers, band nippers.

Workshop Fee (includes $100 materials fee): $700.00

Date & Time: Monday-Friday, July 9-13, 2018 :: 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 3 DAYS PRIOR TO THE START DATE OF THIS WORKSHOP.


About the Instructor | Dominic Riley

Dominic Riley Is an internationally renowned bookbinder, artist, lecturer and teacher. He has his bindery in the Lake District, from where he travels across the UK teaching and lecturing. He spends part of the year teaching in San Francisco and across the USA. His work is mostly restoration and Design Binding, for which he has won many prizes in the Designer Bookbinders competition. He was elected Fellow of DB in 2008. His bindings are in collections worldwide, including the British Library, the Grolier Club in New York and the San Francisco Public Library. In 2013 he won first prize, the Sir Paul Getty Award, in the International Bookbinding Competition. Dominic is President of the Society of Bookbinders.


Past Student Reviews: 

“Dominic was very patient. He is able to communicate very clearly and concisely what the next steps are and what to expect during the day. Love his humor too!”

“Great tips and tricks to do things better, attention to detail”

“Dominic is very experienced and very patient, both extremely necessary for an instructor. The emphasis on history made it much more interesting.”

“I cannot imagine how it could have been better!”

“The crown jewel of bookbinders!”

$ 700.00
Register Now
375 RHODE ISLAND ST
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103-5133
United States