Bookbinding Core 4 :: Classic Rounded Back Cloth Binding

 Registration is closed for this event

July 8th, 2023 9:30 AM

  • Instructor: Clair Emma Smith
  • Workshop Extra: Core Curriculum, Certificate Program
  • Workshop Type: Binding
  • Workshop Status: Wait-list
  • Sessions: 2
  • In-person or Online?: In-person

Workshop Fee (includes materials fee): $350
Scholarship available; click here to apply.

This is an in-person workshop. As of January 2023, masks are strongly encouraged but not required unless otherwise indicated. 

Bookbinding Core Certificate Program

The San Francisco Center for the Book celebrates the craft and art of bookbinding. Our Bookbinding Core Certificate Program introduces students to four different binding models, leading them through the history and evolution of bookmaking.  It provides students a comprehensive foundation to delve into the practice of binding and qualifies them work in our bindery. Core workshops must be taken sequentially.

Click here to learn more about the Bookbinding Core Certificate Program! 

Bookbinding Core 4 :: Classic Rounded Back Cloth Binding

The final class in our Core Bookbinding series (taught in two sessions) uses skills learned in each previous class to create a beautiful and classic rounded back cloth binding. After sewing, the book will be rounded and backed before the boards are attached and covered. This binding style points to many historical structures that came before it, making it an ideal structure for anyone interested in learning to bind books with leather, or learning to repair books.  More terms, more tools, more techniques: such are the rewards of the skilled bookbinder!

Competencies Gained:

  • Build on skills from Cores 1, 2 and 3


  • Understanding of swell, board thickness, and endsheet type, and their impact on rounded and backed bindings
  • Review of different types of sewing supports and spine linings, and how they function within a binding
  • General comparison of all four binding styles presented in the SFCB Core, and how each binding style fulfills a different goal depending on types of books and their uses, and the historical period in which each originated


  • Rounding and backing
  • Hand sewing silk endbands
  • Making and attaching a hollow


  • Nipping press
  • Job backer
  • Backing hammer
  • Guillotine

>> Prerequisites: Bookbinding Cores 1, 2, 3 :: Please do not register for this class if you will not have completed Core 1-3 before July 8 <<


Materials to Bring: None. All tools and materials will be provided.

Date & Time: Saturday & Sunday, July 8 & 9, 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 | Clair Emma Smith (she/her)

Clair Emma Smith is a bookbinder specializing in repair located in Oakland, California. She found her love of bookbinding during an art conservation internship at a historical society in Indiana, and she has been setting up her dream home studio ever since. Clair Emma relocated to the Bay Area after graduating from North Bennet Street School's bookbinding program in 2019 and works in private practice for both herself and other conservators as Bouguereau Bindery

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