Blind and Gold Tooling

One of the many online bookbinding and printing courses I took during the pandemic included a month-long course taught by the amazingly talented bookbinder Samuel Feinstein. He offered a workshop entitled Intro to Blind and Gold Tooling that was hosted by the SF Center for the Book.

I had taken one class that covered some of the basics of titling and tooling, but I had not learned the entire process for blind and gold tooling. Now I can see why some people specialize only in the finishing aspect of binding. It would take many years of practice and so much patience to be able to create the lovely work that Feinstein does for his clients.

The class gave me a greater appreciation for this aspect of fine bindings and it also gave me some new skills to practice. Below are some photos from my work in that class.

This was my station set-up to work on one of the homework assignments. Not pictured is my little burner that heats up the tool.

Picking up gold leaf is yet another tricky skill to be learned. If you so much as sigh while trying to pick it up, the gold leaf turns into something that resembles a scrambled egg. That makes it challenging to slice into neat little blocks for picking up with the heated tool. Side note: I made that gold pillow (the brown thing the gold leaf is on) out of suede scraps and wood.

Clearly, I would need a lot of practice before I would attempt to do this on a binding. Feinstein had mailed us a toolkit to use for the workshop which included a straight line and a circle tool. I thought I would try out some of the fancy, antique tools I had with this process. You can see how well that went. There was a reason he wanted use to start with straight lines and small dots!

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