Bookbinding Core 4 :: Classic Rounded Back Cloth 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.

August 24th, 2024 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
Click here to apply for a Windgate scholarship

Masks are no longer required for most workshops, though anyone is welcome to wear one if they wish.

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 first. <<

Materials to Bring: None. All tools and materials will be provided. Students are also welcome to bring any of their own favorite bookbinding tools.

Date & Time: Saturday & Sunday, August 24 & 25, 2024 :: 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 approximately three days prior to the start date of the workshop to allow the instructor time to prep materials for class. We recommend you not wait to register, as workshops that don't meet our minimum enrollment will be canceled, sometimes as much as a week in advance.

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

Past Student Reviews:

“I really liked learning from Clair Emma! She demonstrated beautifully, was thoughtful of the order of operations to maximize our practice time and explained the concepts well.”

“Claire Emma is an excellent teacher! She was unflappable when it came to demonstrating skills, doing so in a precise way with excellent explanations and when she ran into a glitch she remained calm and self assured… and ever so patient with each student as we mastered skills.”

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