bookbinding techniques


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

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 […]


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 4

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

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 […]


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 […]

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

using the computer to create a cover label for a hand bound book

Computer-aided Hand Bookbinding?

Computer-aided hand bookbinding? Have we gone over to the dark side? No, we still follow the old ways for the most part, using traditional materials and techniques along with tools and equipment as old as the books we work on. (Many visitors are surprised that our operation isn’t more ‘mechanized’. “Really?”, they might say. “You […]


How We Reproduce Marble Paper 4

As bookbinders who do a lot of book restoration and period style bookbinding, we are from time to time asked to reproduce marble paper. Sometimes the client wishes us to bind a book following the original, now deteriorated-beyond-repair binding, or in this case, to replicate the existing binding of other books in a set. This […]

reproduce marble paper