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Drop Spine Boxes with Auxiliary Pockets and Folders

Drop spine boxes are the go-to solution for complete protection for valuable books. Unlike a slipcase that exposes the spine to light, dust and air, the book in a drop spine box is fully enclosed, buffering atmospheric influences and saving it from shelf-wear or the occasional bump. In most cases a basic drop spine box […]

drop spine box opened to show auxiliary storage

The design binding box for Escher's 'Fish and Waves' in full leather.

A Design Drop Spine Box for ‘Fish and Waves’

M. C. Escher’s final small-format print ‘Fish and Waves’ was included in the Dutch book De Tekens Van De Dierenrim (The Signs of the Zodiac) published in 1963. In it Escher and other contemporary Dutch printmakers interpreted the twelve signs. The owner of this copy of the book offers an appreciation: “ ‘Fish and Waves’ […]


Using a Meeting Guard to Allow the Pages to Freely Open

This little colonial American book of psalm tunes, The Essex Harmony, presented a not-unusual binding problem requiring a variant sewing structure to allow it to properly open. The book measures only 6 1/8” x 5 3/8” consisting of 2 signatures. Given its small size, the printing fills the entire page right into the gutter. The […]

pages sewn onto the meeting guard lay flat

Design binding by Jack Fitterer for White Tulips, full leather with feathered onlays and raised onlays.

Creating a Design Binding for White Tulips

As you can see from other posts and pages on FittererBookbinding.com, most of our work is in the area of restoration, repair and rebinding. My earliest interest in bookbinding, though, was design binding and I do receive commissions for these as well. More rarely, I take on a project of my own choosing, such as […]


Hugo Peller’s Pop-Up Box with a Leather Spine 2

Back in 1990 I attended a workshop led by Swiss binder Hugo Peller where he taught how to make an unusual pop-up box of his own design. (You’ll find my detailed workshop notes here.) When it is opened, the book seems to levitate out of it as if by magic. I’ve shown this as a […]

Hugo Peller Pop up box

The completed book restoration using an onlay design to cover the stained leather.

Another Definition of “Book Restoration”

When we think of book restoration, what first comes to mind most often is to return the book as closely possible to its original appearance and functionality. As we discussed in this November 2015 blog post, the work often includes paper repair, resewing, reattaching loose boards, and/or filling in missing material. The job is deemed […]


Jack Fitterer Design Binding Featured in The Wall Street Journal Magazine 2

Jack Fitterer is one of four design bookbinders featured in an article by Michael Clerizo in the December 2015 issue of The Wall Street Journal Magazine. Click here to see the online version. The print edition appeared the weekend of December 5. You can see more of our design bindings at fittererbookbinding.com/our-services/bookbinding/design-fine-binding/  I’ve added a […]

Wall Street Journal, design binding, bookbinding, Jack Fitterer

Jardins Anglais has been rebacked with a new leather spine gilt to replicate the original.

Book conservation/Book restoration: Deciding upon a course of action

Book repair, book restoration, book preservation, book conservation or do nothing at all. With a worn or damaged book in hand, the choices for treatment (or no treatment) may seem bewilderingly complex. Add to this the contradictory advice and opinions offered by different authorities, it may seem impossible to come up with a ‘best’ course […]


Agate marbled paper on a German or French period style bookbinding. sprinkled paper decorative paper

Marbled Paper That Isn’t Marbled 2

Many are the methods that have been used to decorate paper for bookbinding and endpapers. Often they are truly marbled (see our recent post about reproducing marble paper here). But other techniques were used that did not involve the marbling process, but instead the colors were applied directly to the paper itself. Still, many of […]