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Hand Bookbinding: A Manual of Instruction Paperback – July 2, 1996

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Hand Bookbinding: A Manual of Instruction + The Craft of Bookbinding + Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Before the advent of modern mass-production methods, books were bound by hand to remarkably high standards of quality. Beautiful and durable, they appealed to book lovers who appreciated not only a book's content but also the quality and craftsmanship of its binding. Unfortunately, the introduction of machine-binding methods, while making books widely available at reasonable prices, also largely curtailed the art and craft of making fine books by hand.
This expert guide offers a solution. In its pages, craftspeople can learn the traditional methods of bookbinding and produce high-quality hand-bound books themselves. Thorough, detailed instructions, with over 270 helpful illustrations by the author, cover materials, tools, and equipment (including making your own); fundamental procedures and technical methods; rebinding an old book; making a slipcase, and other essentials. Also included are well-illustrated, step-by-step directions for eight binding projects: dust jacket; blank book, single signature; folio; blank book, four signatures; manuscript binding; music binding; and two more.
Clearly written and easy to follow, this manual will be indispensable to those wishing to create high-quality handcrafted bindings themselves; it will also serve as a valuable reference for students and professionals in publishing and its allied trades.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (July 2, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 048629157X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486291574
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

220 of 221 people found the following review helpful By Ron Watts on February 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have several books on bookbinding but have not found a single book with all of the information I need. This book comes the closest but is weak on doing leather covers, split covers, and alternative sewing methods. The Craft of Bookbinding by Manly Banister covers those subjects nicely but does not help you on making tools, which this book treats reasonably well. I recommend you obtain both of these books for a complete treatment of bookbinding in a fair amount of detail. I'm still looking for that all-encompassing book, though...
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138 of 138 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
The author covers the basic skills of hand bookbinding using clear, concise language and illustrations. He shows you how to build your own equipment using elementary woodworking skills for a small fraction of the cost of commercially made equipment. I have built all of my own equipment based on his plans and have successfully used it to bind books. Several example bookbinding projects are covered step by step. I found the chapter on binding manuscripts particularly useful for binding some academic work. The headbanding chapter is quite interesting as it explains how to add to the aesthetic appeal of your book as well as its structural integrity. I think that this is one of the best how-to manuals that I have read on any subject. I highly recommend this book for those wanting to get started in bookbinding with a small investment. Building your own equipment and binding books with it is quite a rewarding experience.
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84 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Roger R. Cousineau on June 29, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book, and "The Craft of Bookbinding" by Manly Banister, on the advice of other reviewers. These two books really compliment each other. This book has great, easy to follow instructions for binding books in several different styles, as well as instructions for making slip covers and boxes for boxing sets of books. There is a chapter on making many of the basic bookbinding tools you will need. The illustrations that go with the instructions are large, clear, and easy to follow.
The book by Banister has instructions for making some tools not included in this book. In addition, Watson makes the statement that "perfect bound" books, which include most of the trade paperbacks we own, cannot be rebound. Banister, on the other hand, has a ten page section on perfect binding, and how to rebind your favorite paperback.
Aldren Watson has put together a wonderful book, clear, easy to understand, clearly illustrated, and depending on what you are trying to accomplish, it may be the only one you ever need. I gave it four stars only because it did not cover "perfect binding".
Buy both books and you should be able to tackle just about any bookbinding situation that comes up.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By James L. Evans on February 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Aldren Watson definitely does the job for beginning and intermediate bookbinders. No frou-frou or books straining to be sculpture. Clear instructions tell you how to build books people might actually want to pick up and read, and then pass on for generations.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By R. Ellis on March 9, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book covers the basic of making your own books in a very clear and concise manner. There are plenty of illustrations and the directions are easily followed. I found the section in the back of the book on making your own book binding tools to be very helpful. As a beginning bookmaker, I have found this book to be very handy and would recommend it to anyone interested in this hobby.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. F. Paredes on October 12, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading this book I was able to complete my first ever sewn multiple signature hardbound book with little to no problems. Watson's numbered and illustrated instructions were simple and easy to follow and his techniques - especially on proper folding, measuring, squaring, mitering the corners and attaching bookcloth - proved very helpful. He even provides a section in the end of the book on how to make your own bindery tools, which is great because equipment such as sewing frames and press tubs can be quite expensive these days.

Watson assumes that you have already collated the signatures for your text block. This is important because there are some things you'll have to consider when assembling the text block in the first place (such as squaring off the fore edge for a finished look) But overall, this is a useful reference for serious home bookbinders.

I highly recommend it!
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is the best book on the subject I have seen to date! It's easy to read, the diagrams are informative, and it's order is easy to follow. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in Book Binding as a hobby!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ing Peter Bezemek on February 19, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book doesn't have flashy pictures, but it teaches you how to bind your own books. The instructions are detailed, the process is well explained and it worked great for me.

I have also bought another book on bookbinding (or so I thought) - Book Arts: Beautiful Bindings for Handmade Books by Mary Kaye Seckler. This one is the exact opposite of the previous - flashy pictures, but absolutely useless.
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Hand Bookbinding: A Manual of Instruction
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