A first stab at book binding

For some time we've been harbouring ambitions of creating our own books. Not large tomes admittedly, but hand printed and bound books nonetheless. Although we have sketchbooks full of ideas and the presses up and running, we didn't know how to actually make a book. So we got in touch with Simon Goode who does.

Simon is trained in book arts, and is currently in the process of establishing the Centre for Book Arts in London. He also gives book binding lessons in his studio in East London. We arranged a two day course with him to get us started.

First up were the basics: learning about grain direction, folding, slicing and imposition. This was then put into practice with some simple, but effective three holed pamphlets, with various cover techniques. After a cuppa and a biscuit, Simon upped the ante with a slim case bound book. This involved much measuring, cutting, glueing and cursing, but the end result was definitely a book.

Day two saw us testing our folding skills with a concertina book, which it turns out is much harder than it looks. Straight folds were tricky to master, although once we added bright yellow case bound covers at each end and a belly band to finish we were pretty proud of ourselves.

Our final books were stab bound, with the thread exposed and wrapped around the spine and cover. Although the stabbing was hard work and the stitching was fiddly, the binding was hands down our favourite.

Come the end of the two days we had needle punctures and sliced fingers, but had gained new skills in the rather satisfying binding process. To celebrate we headed to the pub with Simon, trying not to spill beer on our newly bound books.

As for printed books from us, watch this space...


  1. You'll be familiar with wire binding which is commonly used in calendars. It's strong and versatile and allows the book to be opened flat. With very thick card used for the pages it would make a very strong book for young children that would stand up to a lot of wear and tear.

    Book Binding Boston


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