How does the Monitoring Stream work?

The student sends models specified as projects and models under "Chart of Units for Submission" in both the manual and the Guidelines. Some are completed projects, but some are models to show a particular technique, for example in Bookbinding I, a sample of sized cloth, an all-along sewn textblock with cloth, quarter-covered case, etc.

The submission is critiqued by an instructor. You will be informed of the name and e-mail address of your mentor. Mentors are assigned by the Home Study registrar.

Submissions are returned to the student within six weeks, with suggestions of any models to be repeated or what to correct in the next submission.

What courses are available?

The Home Study courses are Bookbinding IBookbinding IIBookbinding II, EndpapersIntroduction to Leather, Restoration & Repair, and Finishing. Some segments include an enrichment segment as well as the basic curriculum. Bookbinding I includes one DVD on Sewing Variations. Bookbinding II includes Endpapers. Bookbinding III includes Introduction to Leather (also available separately). Restoration & Repair includes Colour Theory: Practical Tips for Colouring Paper & Cloth with Martha Cole and The Use of Japanese Paper in Book Conservation with Don Etherington. Although not part of the core curriculum, Marbling: a guide to the craft of watercolour marbling is also available. 

How difficult is the programme?

The Home Study Programme is not a small task to undertake. CBBAG understands very well the difficulties of trying to teach yourself this very complex and demanding craft, and presents enough detail to make it possible.

The projects in Bookbinding I are progressive in complexity, so that at the end of Bookbinding I you are able to prepare a German Case, tape-sewn book with invisible hinge hooked endpapers, and with good basic bench technique. With each sewing technique a complexity is added. It is intended that students learn to stabilize boards, to tuck-in the little extra cloth at the corners to eliminate fraying, and to work the covering material well down into the joints and attached to the edges of the boards. The manual has been written as if the student has no previous experience.

In Bookbinding II you are introduced to recessed cord sewing, sewn endbands, rounding and backing, and the Bradel as the transition from case binding to true binding with boards attached to the textblock before covering-in, as well as the concept of expansion and contraction.

In Bookbinding III you are introduced to raised cord sewing, the German zigzag endpaper, Chris Clarkson endband, the tight back/tight shoulder construction, lacing-in of boards, covering-in with leather, and raised cords, as well as the extremely important concept of extension and compression.

A number of students have commented on the fun they are having while they are working on the programme.

How long does the Home Study Programme take to complete?

The length of time the curriculum takes depends on the student -- how well and easily he/she is able to work independently from written and visual material. It is not easy and not quick to do, but some have done very well indeed. You should figure on at least six months per segment, for the five segments currently available.

What tools and supplies are required, and what is the cost?

1) The tools are discussed at length on one of the DVDs of Bookbinding I.

There is a bone folder included with the Bookbinding I segment because that is the only specialized tool the student must have. You do need a ruler which is not heavily scored so that it doesn't catch the teeth of the knife in cutting, a solid utility knife (Olfa) and/or scalpel, a square, and a couple of ordinary brushes for adhesive. All of these should be fairly easily available. The most difficult tool to get a decent version of and the most expensive are the dividers. You can get those from Lee Valley, Talas, or other sources in the suppliers list you receive with the Bookbinding I segment. The total cost of tools will likely average $150 CDN but certainly may be less.

2) In terms of the cost of materials, that varies with the student, but many have some materials already on hand. Since you are working with quite small models you can often use a part of a sheet of Japanese paper or matt board.

If you are purchasing everything you would need, one sheet of matt board, 10 or 12 sheets of text weight paper, one sheet of Japanese backing paper, one sheet of decorated Japanese paper or nice western paper, some small pieces of fabric, some wheat starch, and a small quantity of PVA glue. The estimated total cost is not more than $100 (if you are able to control your desire for the gorgeous Japanese papers).

The papers are available from The Paper Place, Curry's, Talas, Daniel Smith, etc. Again sources are listed in the suppliers list.

I have some bookbinding experience. Can I start with Bookbinding II? While a few of the essential techniques are repeated in Bookbinding II, you should consult the checklist of what you should be familiar with after completing Bookbinding I, before considering starting with Bookbinding II.

Does the non-member price include membership in CBBAG? And, if I were to purchase the next level, would it then be at the members' price?

Yes, the non-member price includes a one-year membership in CBBAG, so you could purchase the next level at the members' price as long as it is within your membership year (or you keep your membership current).

I do not wish to take your home study course but I would like to buy the DVDs on their own, without purchasing the manuals. Is this possible?

No, CBBAG does not break up the component parts of any Home Study package, except where specifically stated otherwise. (For example Introduction to Leather is available separately, as well as being a part of Bookbinding III).

Please note that Home Study is offered in a Resource & Reference Stream at a lower rate than the Monitoring Stream, since you may not consider the critiques essential for you.

The DVDs and manuals are considered complementary to each other, with much general background and/or enrichment material in each. Although you may not feel that you need the projects, this general information material could be very valuable to you.

If I purchase a component of the Home Study Programme, e.g., Bookbinding I in the Resource & Reference Stream, then find I would like to switch to the Monitoring Stream, would I have to pay the full price to enter the Monitoring Stream, or just the difference in prices between the two streams?

You would just pay the difference in the price between the two streams for that particular course. This has happened a number of times where people decide that they would like the critiques once they start the programme or wish to be able to continue with the next level by taking an in-studio course for which a prerequisite is required.

Just as there are prerequisites for all core curriculum in-studio courses (except Bookbinding I), there are also prerequisites for Home Study Monitoring Stream courses. Bookbinding I (in-studio or Monitoring Stream) is required for Bookbinding II Monitoring Stream; Bookbinding II (in-studio or Monitoring Stream) is required for Bookbinding III Monitoring Stream.

Does successful completion of the monitoring stream result in a credential (diploma, certificate) from CBBAG?

CBBAG gives a “Certificate of Completion” on completion of all six of the core courses whether taken in-studio or a combination of in-studio and Monitoring Stream Home Study. The six courses are: Bookbinding I, II, and III, Restoration & Repair, Finishing, and Paper Treatments for Binders. Note that only Bookbinding I, II, and III are available through the Monitoring Stream of the Home Study Programme; therefore, in order to qualify for a Certificate of Completion, one must complete Finishing, Restoration & Repair, and Paper Treatments for Binders in-studio. The Certificate of Completion is not formal accreditation; rather, it is an acknowledgment that the holder has completed the six foundation courses in bookbinding. However, CBBAG has had students who were already working in conservation jobs who started back at the beginning with CBBAG, completed the six courses, and were extremely pleased with the mass of material they had learned and found it extremely useful in their work.

Last updated February 20, 2015, by JVF
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