Some Bookbinding Frequently Asked Questions
(inlcudes: Brief Reading and Suppliers lists)I would like some information on bookbinding. What it is? I love old books but never thought about bookbinding.
Bookbinding consists of many different types of work, particularly in North America where few can specialize and make a living. Most people in the field do restoration and repair of books for their basic living, since there are not too many early or important books in Canada which need a full conservation treatment and not many are willing to pay for it.
In addition to this, many make blank books, guest books, photo albums, the binding or rebinding in special format of gift books or other books which matter to customers, boxes, or a great variety of other requests. Many, many of the binders now are using one or more the book arts (hand binding, fine printing, calligraphy, box making, paper decorating, papermaking, artists books) as an art form.
Are there jobs in this field or is it more of hobby?
There are not a great many binders in Canada working full time and earning their entire income from binding but there certainly are some. Many earn a substantial portion of their income from binding. There are practically no institutional or commercial jobs in hand binding but neither is it solely a hobby, although for many it is something they do for pleasure and often in conjunction with other art fields, such as calligraphy.
Binders in Canada have to set up for themselves and find work for themselves. They have to, in effect, become a small business and some in various parts of the country have successfully done so.
CBBAG is often asked about bookbinding apprenticeships. There is no formal apprenticeship programme in bookbinding in Canada. Generally most binders cannot afford the time to train anyone nor the money to hire anyone.
Recommended Reading List
Burdett, Eric. The Craft of Bookbinding: a Practical Guide.
Johnson, Arthur, The Thames and Hudson Manual of Bookbinding.
Middleton, Bernard C., A History of English Craft Bookbinding Techniques.
Szirmai, J.A., The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding.
Greenfield, Jane, ABC of Bookbinding.
Robert, Matt T., and Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books, a
Brown, Margaret R., with Don Etherington and Linda K. Ogden,
Zeier, Franz, Books, Boxes and Portfolios.
Brief Suppliers List
For more suppliers check CBBAG’ Book Arts Suppliers list (CBBAG membership benefit)
John Neal Bookseller
Oak Knoll Books
Most Materials and Tools
Wheat Starch Paste
Corn Starch for Paste
Sydney R. Stone
La Papeterie St. Armand
Japanese paper, bone folders, book cloth, Eska board
Japanese Paper Place
Western papers, brushes, matt board
local art supply stores
Davey board, bookcloth (in quantity)
Columbia Finishing Mills
La Papeterie St. Armand
Woolfitt’s Art Supply
Campbell-Logan Bindery212 Second St. North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1423
Adapted Spoke Shave
Brockman Leather Parer
Horton press, finishing press, lying press, backingtool
Rose Newlove & Eugene Fedorenko