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Journalist Ralph Gardner’s visit to the Fitterer’s bindery, part 2

Ralph Gardner: Einstein in the Adirondacks My wife proposed calling it a staycation. But that wasn’t strictly accurate because we traveled a couple of hours north – even longer if you include the wrong turn we took, or rather the right turn we didn’t take – and the trip included an overnight.  We were on […]

Taff and Jack Fitterer in the bindery

Journalist Ralph Gardner, Jr. paid a visit to the shop……..

COMMENTARY  Meet Jack and Taff Fitterer, the wizards of book restoration Posted Friday, January 17, 2020 6:00 pm My father passed along his passion for books to me. I’m actually of the opinion that collecting is a gene that some possess, other don’t.” By Ralph Gardner Jr. GHENT, N.Y. Back in August, with fingers crossed and the maximum […]


Medieval Bookbinding Workshop at Tech Valley High School

It has been a snowy winter in the Adirondacks. In a lull between storms, a sunny, but chilly February day found Jack and Taff driving south, out of the mountains, to Tech Valley High School located on the SUNY Polytechnic Institute Campus in Albany, New York. Our mission: to lead a workshop in the medieval […]

Jack Fitterer and students of the medieval book

self adhesive tape on the front of the dust jacket

“Scotch” Tape on Dust Jackets 1

For a very difficult dust jacket repair… I received a dust jacket restoration job for Steinback’s The Grapes of Wrath. It was in pieces and had a ton of scotch tape all over the joints and edges of the outside! Yup…it’s the good side. It had been on there long enough to really adhere to […]


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 7

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 […]