What is Bookbinding?

I would like some information on bookbinding. What is it? I love old books but never thought about bookbinding.

Bookbinding consists of many different types of work, particularly in North America where it can be difficult to specialize and make a living. Most people in the field do a variety of work, including restoration and repair, as well as constructing special format gift books (such as guest books and albums), and book enclosures.  Many 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 bookbinding but there are some. Many earn a substantial portion of their income from binding. There are practically no institutional or commercial jobs in hand bookbinding, but neither is it solely a hobby; for many it is something done 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


Manuals
  • Burdett, Eric. The Craft of Bookbinding: a Practical Guide. Vancouver: David and Charles, 1977.
  •  Johnson, Arthur, The Thames and Hudson Manual of Bookbinding. London: Thames and Hudson 1981.

History
  • Middleton, Bernard C., A History of English Craft Bookbinding Techniques. London: The Holland Press, 1978.
  • Szirmai, J.A., The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding. Ashgate: Aldershot, England 1999.

Terminology
  • Greenfield, Jane, ABC of Bookbinding. Delaware: Oak Knoll Press/New York:The Lyons Press, 1998
  • Robert, Matt T., and Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books, a Descriptive Terminology. Washington: Library of Congress,1982.

Boxes
  • Brown, Margaret R., with Don Etherington and Linda K. Ogden, Boxes for the Protection of Rare Books, their Design and Construction. Washington: Library of Congress, 1982.
  • Zeier, Franz, Books, Boxes and Portfolios. Design Press/Tab Books/McGraw Hill, 1990.

Brief List of Suppliers


Books
  • John Neal Bookseller 1833 Spring Garden St., First Floor, Greensboro  NC 2740
    johnnealbooks.com
  • Oak Knoll Books 310 Delaware St., New Castle, DE 19720
    oakknoll.com


Most Materials, Tools, PVA
  • Geo.Hill & Co., Milton ON
    georgehillco.com
  • BookMakers 8601 Rhode Island Ave, College Park MD USA 20740
    bookmakerscatalog.com
  • Talas 330 Morgan Ave. Brooklyn NY USA 11211
    talasonline.com
  • J Hewit's & Sons, 12 Nettlehill Road, Houstoun Industrial Estate, Livingston, West Lothian, EH54 5DL, Scotland 
    hewit.com


Wheat Starch Paste

  • (most of the above)

Corn Starch for Paste
  • grocery stores

Methyl Cellulose
  • wallpaper stores

Papers
  • The Japanese Paper Place Toronto (Etobicoke) ON
    By appointment only: 416-538-9669
    japanesepaperplace.com
  • La Papeterie St. Armand 3700 rue #01 St Patrick, Montreal QC H4E 1A2
    www.st-armand.com
  • AuPapier Japonais 24 Fairmount Ouest, Montreal, Quebec, H2T 2M1
    Tel: 514-276-6863
  • The Paper Place 887 Queen St. West, Toronto ON M6J 1G5
    shop.thepaperplace.ca


Other papers, brushes, matt board
  • local art supply stores

Davey board, bookcloth, bookbinding supplies


Leather
  • Harmatan and Oakridge Leathers Westfields Ave., Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire, England NN10 8AX
    harmatan.co.uk
  • J Hewit's & Sons, 12 Nettlehill Road, Houstoun Industrial Estate, Livingston, West Lothian, EH54 5DL, Scotland 
    hewit.com


Woodworking Tools


Adapted Spoke Shave
  • Don Taylor 222 Islington Ave, Unit 224, Toronto ON M8V 3W7
    416-591-8801

Horton press, finishing press, lying press, backing tool
  • Rose Newlove & Eugene Fedorenko 76 Durie St., Toronto ON  M6S 3E8
    416-762-6312


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