Category Archives: Bookbinding

I’m now selling notebooks and journals online

bks all

I have just added a page to this site where I am offering a variety of blank notebooks and journals for sale, most of them with quite creative covers. Some of these are books I bound a couple of years ago and have not got down to promoting. But some are also more recent creations, as I want to explore doing more of this sort of work if there is an outlet for it. I will probably eventually move them to another online shop, but for the time being I am selling them on this site. The prices may also be somewhat on the low side, but at the moment I’d like to see if they sell and move some stock.

Some more flap-around Bibles

Here are some more small flap-around Bibles (well, New Testaments really) that I was asked to do. The red one has rather wild end pages, which are made from paste paper and bits of gold foil.




I’m now selling Bibles online!


I’ve added a new page to this site where I am selling hand crafted leather bound Bibles of various sorts. Over the past couple of years I have collected some Bibles and rebound them and am now offering them for sale here. Some of them are second-hand, of a lesser quality or have other minor imperfections, which explains some of the cheaper prices. Some are also Bibles I’ve used to experiment with and they give an idea of what is possible.

I hope to also add a page for hand-crafted journal type books before long.

Another Bible, this time my own


There is a saying to the effect that the shoemaker’s children are the poorest shod, and this may apply to a bookbinder’s books too. I had been meaning to rebind my own Bible (or one of them) for a couple of years now, but never found the time for it. But because I wanted to experiment with some gold foiling and blind foiling techniques, I finally made the time for it. I also went a bit wild with colouring the end pages, but it gives one an idea of what is possible!


A flap-around Bible

I’ve recently had a client who had Bible with a flap-around cover that she wanted rebound. I’d never done anything like this before and found it a bit of a challenge. The original cover had had a press-stud that closed it, but I did not have the necessary equipment to insert a pres-stud. My initial thought was to use a magnet but I have not been able to find suitably strong magnets for use in binding. (If any other bookbinders read this and know of a source, please let me know!) Anyway, after doing a binding with elastic that I wasn’t terribly happy with, I got an idea from looking at photos online, and have developed this binding which I did as an experiment on an extra Bible.

bible flap 1

bible flap 2

As an aside, I have a number of Bibles (some new and some used) that I have started binding – partly to experiment with different techniques and partly to show what can be done – that I plan to make available for sale via this site. More details to follow soon…

A hand-written Bible

I recently had the unusual experience of binding a Bible that had been written out by hand. I was contacted by someone whose father had written out the whole Bible by hand over a period of a couple of years. His father is now deceased and he wanted to have the Bible nicely bound for the family to keep.

I regret that I have lost the “before” photo of this work. It came to me in large files and was written on ordinary lined A4 paper. Unfortunately (from a bookbinding perspective) there was not much by the way of margins, so I was not able to trim the book blocks of the 4 volumes that were produced. But the leather covers with a debossed Cross and ribs on the spine gave the volumes a pleasing finish.

p barn bib


p barn bib side

Something original

I haven’t posted on here recently because of the demands of trying to establish a business and also the fact that much of my recent work has not been terribly original. I’ve realised that I’ll have to keep this blog for rather exceptional things, rather than run of the mill work.

However, this is a book that I bound recently as a gift. It incorporates an original water colour painting that my father did shortly before his death just over  year ago. I’d asked him to experiment with some small paintings and he’d sent them to me, but I hadn’t got down to doing anything with them until recently. I think that I’m going to keep the rest of them for special personal projects. But it does give an example of the sort of things that one can do with original artworks.


Rebinding of Altar Missal

I have recently been busy with rebinding some Roman Catholic altar missals. About a year ago the Catholic Church introduced a new English translation of the Mass, which of course necessitated that all English-speaking parishes get new books. However, the – very substantial – version of this text for use on the altar does not seem to have been well bound and I was approached by a priest who was concerned that his books were beginning to come apart. We decided to rebind them in a simple but sturdy leather binding.  Here are some before and after photos.

The original binding. They had used an elaborate foiling block, but on a very cheap synthetic material. The book block itself was well stitched and glued, but not well attached to the rather flimsy cover.

One of the back covers that was beginning to tear. When I took the book apart I discovered that this was not just due to the inferior material used . There was also very little mull used and it had not been well glued.

I rebound the books in dark brown leather, with substantial cover boards, beveled edges and a simple Cross debossed on the front cover.

As this is a very heavy book that will be used often, I strengthened the book block with an extra layer of mull, and added a hollow which helps to prevent the book block becoming detached from the cover.

Some recent Bibles

I haven’t been very good about posting on here recently, partly because of business and the pressures of moving and partly because I’ve often forgotten to take photos of my work. I hope that things will get more organised in the future.

In the last few months I’ve repaired and recovered a number of soft-covered Bibles, something that I hadn’t done much of before but which there seems to be a demand for. Personally I’ve been more inclined to prefer Bibles bound in hard covers, so soft-cover leather binding has been a new experience for me. Here are a few that I remembered to take photos of.

Book restoration

I recently completed a fairly extensive restoration of a book which was in pretty bad condition. The cover had come off, the spine was gone and quite a number of the pages were loose and torn.

Here are some photos of what it looked like “before”:

I took the book apart and carefully removed quite a lot of sellotape. This is one of a book restorer’s worst enemies and should never be used to repair books as it colours the paper and leaves a horrible gluey substance behind that has to be chemically dissolved and carefully scraped away.

I then washed the pages. I normally avoid chemical bleaching, but washing in ordinary water can help to not only clean the paper, but also to remove the acid that has built up in it.

The next step was mending the torn pages with Japanese paper. The outer pages of most of the signatures or sections of the book had torn in two and so these had to be reattached using Japanese paper if I was to be able to restitch the book.

The leaves were then refolded, arranged in their signatures and placed in the press before being restitched.

The book block was then given new end pages, glued,  given a hollow and a new spine was made. I realise now that I should have taken more photos at this point, but such is life.

The new spine was attached, the cover boards were mended as far as possible while keeping the look of the original book, and were attached and glued down.