“Scotch” Tape on Dust Jackets

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 […]

self adhesive tape on the front of the dust jacket

drop spine box opened to show auxiliary storage

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 […]

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’ […]

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

pages sewn onto the meeting guard lay flat

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 […]

Creating a Design Binding for White Tulips

As you can see from other posts and pages on, 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 […]

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

Hugo Peller Pop up box

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

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 […]

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 […]

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

Wall Street Journal, design binding, bookbinding, Jack Fitterer

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  I’ve added a […]

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 […]

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