A bit of background

I started bookbinding as a hobby more than 40 years ago. I took evening classes at Leicester Polytechnic (which had recently taken over the Leicester School of Printing, along with its specialist bookbinding staff) in 1976 and continued for five years. Trevor Hickman was the tutor – sadly, I learned recently that he had died, aged 84, and is greatly missed by all his students.

Over the next 25 years I gradually acquired all the tools, equipment and materials necessary to tackle any repair or new binding job, and I joined the UK-based Designer Bookbinders, and later the Society of Bookbinders. Their weekend courses and conferences were important to developing my skills.

Initially I bound or repaired just my own books, but people began to ask me to do repairs at which , with practice, I became quite proficient. When I retired from full-time work I took on more repair work and now, fifteen years later, my work book has over 2000 entries, including some new bindings for clients.

Now I would like to share some of the techniques and methods I have developed with other binders, however new they may be to the craft, and that is the chief aim of this Blog.

Here are some images of previous work….

My re-bind of Ben Jonson’s ‘The Alchemist’: full goatskin, black calf inlay, gilt title to spine
Made for a competition in about 1982. ‘Required Writing’ is a collection of Philip Larkin’s journalism pieces, so I used old typewriter keys to spell out the title and author
I re-bound my college copy of ‘Beowulf’ in alum-tawed pigskin with blind tooling in imitation of stamps on 13th century bindings
My first attempt at a Cambridge Panel binding – probably around 1985

One thought on “A bit of background

  1. Hi Chris, very nice to see your blog and very much appreciate your efforts and passing on your knowledge, we’ve spoken before you know who I am, I look forward to keeping in touch and sharing information. Paul. ( Australia)


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