Quarter Leather Binding Class

Wrapping cord around the cord.

Over the holidays I took a course at the San Francisco Center for the Book with teacher Juliayn Coleman.

I have taken a couple of classes with her over the past few years where we worked with leather, but paring has never been easy for me. However, this time the knife paring somehow clicked for me. I still need a lot of practice, but I didn’t find the process of working with leather as cumbersome as I had before. I also learned how to use the rounded paring knife in combination with the English paring knife that I already use. One important lesson learned: each piece of leather is different and even within a single skin, you will sometimes want to use different knives to handle different areas and issues that come up with the inconsistency in the skin. Being versatile with different tools and knowing which ones to use when is critical.

The class taught us how to complete a quarter leather binding with the cords sewn into the board. This is one of the models that I would like to use to bind the books that I print so this was a wonderful model to make.

We started work on the text block with a single sheet of paper and folded it to make the signatures for sewing. This is the method I will be using with fully printed sheets so it gave me a good idea of the amount of spacing and the margin for error (here’s where that expression actually comes from) that will be needed for folding the signatures and ploughing the text block.

The final book from the class contains several examples of lessons learned. It is my model, and I learned at lot from it. Below are the pictures from this enjoyable three day class. As always, I am grateful to Juliayn for her patience and willingness to share her bookbinding knowledge with her students.


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