Current Workshops

The San Francisco Center for the Book has begun to offer in-person instruction once again. As of July 2021, we have successfully completed the first full Week-long Bookbinding Intensive series after COVID-19 lockdowns were lifted, and there will have been 3 more Week-long Cores since then. Most classes are now being held in the bindery classroom, with air sanitizers and ample ventilation. We are using an overhead projector to demonstrate detailed tasks such as endbands and primary sewing techniques. Because of persistent COVID outbreaks nation- and worldwide, we are requiring that students be vaccinated (honor system) and wear masks throughout our in-person classes.  Come join us for in-person bookbinding instruction again.

Simple Repairs for Leather Books

In this short repair class, students will repair one leather book provided to them. The books students will use are carefully selected by the instructor to focus on a particular repair technique that is useful for small to medium size leather bindings. Students are welcome to bring in their own books needing repair to get advice on tailoring repair techniques to their particular books, time permitting.

It is not necessary, but extremely helpful, if students have taken a repair class already, such as Paper & Paste or The Cloth Reback.

Concepts discussed:

  • Types of leather bindings suitable and unsuitable for this type of repair
  • The use of various types and weights of kozo paper in book repair
  • How to choose the best adhesive for various tasks in a repair
  • General best practices in book conservation

Specific techniques:

  • Applying Klucel-G to dry leather
  • Corner strengthening and repair
  • Filling in loss areas on leather spines
  • Water-tearing kozo paper to desired irregular shapes
  • Toning kozo paper with stable acrylics

Sunday, January 9; 9:30-5:30. Register/more info or call 415-565-0545.

Orientation to Leather

It is impossible to imagine the history of bookbinding without leatherwork, and difficult to advance in learning bookbinding without having some skill or understanding of how leather is used in making books. Fancy books, plain ones, rustic or refined, historical and modern all have used leather in some fashion. Even many books without the tiniest scrap of leather still have borrowed working methods from leather bookbinding. This introduction to the advanced track in leatherwork for bookbinding helps students cross the frontier of those remote and mysterious tools and techniques commonly used in leather bookbinding today.

The first half of the class will explain and demonstrate the technical aspects of knives, and you will experience how to get and maintain a great edge. We will look at the various advantages and disadvantages of PSA abrasive sheets, Japanese water stones, oil stones, and stropping compounds. We will also explain the different surfaces available for using your knife, and how they act on knives: litho stones, marble, and tempered glass. If you have a knife for leather working that has dulled or lost its shape, and you’d like to learn how to tune it up yourself, please bring it to work on.

The second half of the class will focus on the various methods used to pare leather: edge paring with knives, and all-over paring with a Schärf-Fix or Brockman paring machine. There will be plenty of time for guided practice on your own in order to gain confidence with this essential skill. For those who learn quickly, paring for onlays and labels will be covered

This workshop is a prerequisite for the Leather Core bookbinding workshops at the San Francisco Center for the Book. 

*Watch a video about this workshop! (link is external)

Sunday, January 23; 9:30-5:30; Register/more info or call 415-565-0545

Week-long Bookbinding Core Intensive

Core 1-4

SFCB offers its Bookbinding Core in four segments spread out over five days of classroom time. The Core classes are: the Coptic Binding, Flat-back Link-Stitch with Casing, Limp Paper Binding, and Classic Rounded Spine. You may now take these classes as separate classes, or as an innovative week-long intensive. The week-long intensive includes all four classes in the Core in an easy-to-digest, continuous stream of five dreamy, wonderful days spent binding your favorite books. What could be better? You will become more confident with gluing, with sewing headbands, cutting binder’s board; even the basic elements of edge decoration are included. If you are coming from afar and would like assistance with logistics, contact me or ask the lovely professionals at the Center when you call 415-565-0545 to register.

Monday through Friday, 9:30-5:30; February 14-18. Register/more info.
Monday through Friday, 9:30-5:30; April 25-29. Register/more info.
Core 4 only: two Saturdays, 9:30-5:30; March 19 & 26. Register/more info.

Millimeter Binding

During the early part of the 1900s, leather was in short supply in northern Europe. Always a more desirable book covering material than cloth or paper, especially in areas of hard wear such as the spine and corners, leather was becoming rare due to the first world war’s restrictions on the use of it in non-military applications. Binderies had to find ways to provide durable, attractive books while using less leather. Millimeter bindings were born out of the need to conserve rare materials, yet still get the benefit of using a little bit of them. Allowing only a single millimeter of leather to show on the boards at the spine and corners, these bindings also made the most of what northern Europeans inherently had in abundance: leather paring skills.

Since the early 1900s, many hand binders around the world have developed and refined this style of binding as an artistic expression. In this class, we will begin to explore the creative options available when making use of this modern style of hardcover binding with leather. We will use our own paste papers (if available–the instructor will provide some if you don’t have yours from Core 1) to decorate the larger portion of the covers.

PLEASE TAKE HEED! This is part of a sequential series of classes which follows Orientation to Leather. If you have not taken Orientation to Leather, you must do so before you can register, participate in, and enjoy this class. You must also take Orientation to Leather in order to receive the leatherworking tool you will need for this workshop.

A pair of Fridays: March 4 & 11, 9:30-5:30; Register/more info or call 415-565-0545.

The Cloth Reback

New beginning

In this class, we will learn the steps necessary to repair ailing clothbound books. This style of repair, developed through decades of use in conservation labs and private studios alike, allows the practitioner to safely disbind books with integrity and respect for the original structure, and follows an ethic of saving every part of the original material. The cloth reback can be varied many ways to attend to the many different problems books can have, but all variations are based on the foundational method taught in this class. Students will work on books specifically chosen by the instructor, who will also discuss how to identify books that are not good candidates for this type of repair.

Consecutive trio of days: Saturday-Sunday-Monday, March 12-14, 9:30-5:30. Register here or call 415-565-0545 for more information.


Past Student Reviews

Here is an article one of my students wrote about his experiences in the Week-Long Core.

“The knowledge of the instructor and her ability to recognize the skill level of the students was key to the class. Juliayn was able to assist each individual according to their skill level with professionalism and patience, making a great classroom experience.”

“Juliayn was a great teacher. She was patient and also good at rolling with whatever came up. I appreciated her attitude to the learning process (that we need to practice these things before getting them right) while also emphasizing best practices and techniques for bookbinding. I enjoyed the time when she would deviate from the actual binding of the book to give us a mini lecture on the field, on adhesives, paper quality, where to buy materials, history of the art, etc.”

“I loved the instructor’s calm manner and accessibility- plus she has a great sense of humor, something much appreciated during stressful maneuvers.”

“Juliayn is always so cheerful, funny, organized, and patient! I love her classes! She teaches good practices which promote good habits.”

“Can’t say enough of Juliayn’s patience, composure, and professionalism. I struggled with several steps and she was always there to help me with her smile and kind heart.”

“Love her sense of humor and friendliness, as well as her depth of knowledge. Very happy that I got to take this class.”

“Thanks to Juliayn’s encouragement and excellent teaching, I was finally able to pare leather without tearing giant holes in it. ”

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