Bookbinding is so interesting! Where can I learn more?
Here are some links to my personal favorite sites for information about books and bookbinding, as well as suppliers for bookbinding materials. I’ll add more as fast as I can.
The best bookbinding leather I’ve ever found comes from Bookbinder’s Workshop. I use their leathers exclusively for fine bindings. They sell different types of leather and it is all first quality. The skins have a wonderful hand, soft and supple. Unlike most of the other skins I’ve used, these tend to be nearly free of defects, waste or thin unusable edges. The colors are gorgeous. Not only is this leather a pure joy to work with, it is also a good value. You won’t find leather of this quality for anywhere near this price elsewhere. BBWS also sells instructional DVDs, books, tools, marbled papers, and various small tools and supplies. Michael Chrisman, the owner, is one of the men behind The Lost Gutenbergs - a fascinating story - and a fine hand bookbinder. Michael is busily posting videos online, and you can get the latest links from the BBWS website.
Jeff Peachy is a bookbinder who makes tools for bookbinding. Wonderful sharp paring knives, lifting knives, general purpose bookbinding knives - and he makes them himself. The tools are well balanced, sharp as scalpels, and feel wonderful in the hand. He also sells unique specialty items for bookbinding such a sewing frame, board slotter, and various jacks and special purpose devices. I can’t afford those, but if you are a bookbinder and you win the lottery, you could buy a board slotter for both of us! I have a small Peachy paring knife, English style, and I LOVE IT. I wish I could have one of everything on the site. Jeff also writes a blog which unlike mine, manages to be witty and informative. Highly recommended.
I admit it: this website is bookbinding fantasy. I can’t afford anything on this site, but I like to pull up the page, click through the catalog, and sigh. An enormous cast iron board shear! (Get real - where would you put it, Karen?) An antique manual guillotine! A cast iron job backer! These things are the real deal: antique, beautifully made, and rare. Poke around the site to see what it used to be like, and what it still is like for the lucky few who possess these heirloom tools. Buy everything you can afford. If you can afford more than you can use, just send me the extras.
The Japanese Paper Place and New York Central Art Supply are sources for papers. Handmade Japanese paper, marble papers, fine art papers for endsheets and for printing your own books. The variety of papers will stun you: make sure you have time to browse! The latter site will stock you up with all kinds of art supplies.
If you’re a bookbinder, you know Talas. They sell everything: adhesives, paper, tools, equipment, materials for gilding,chemicals, leathers, book cloth .... it would take this whole page to list it all, so just go check it out. If you need it, they probably have it.
Hollander’s is a wonderful shop in the historic district of Ann Arbor that sells a variety of bookbinding supplies. It’s a great store, in a great area, and if you are anywhere near there you should really go check it out. If you aren’t near there, you can check out the web site. Hollander’s has a huge, well equipped basement studio where you can take classes in almost any aspect of bookbinding, from fine hand binding to papermaking. Hollander’s also carries enough decorative, marbled and handmade papers to bankrupt any vacationing bookbinder. Fortunately, they will ship, so you don’t need to go to Ann Arbor on vacation to go bankrupt. If you do go, eat at Zingerman’s. You can tell them I sent you, but they won’t know me from Adam.
Ok, this one seems a bit obscure, but if you have every looked for heavy silk thread for headbanding, look here under ”Thread” for Trebizond silk. It’s a heavy, twisted, rich silk thread that comes in a million colors.
Volcano Arts supplies many unique kits and tools for bookbinders. I love the large Teflon folder, which is great for box making. Actually it’s great for everything
P & S Engraving is in Great Britain, but that won’t stop them from selling you all the brass finishing tools you want. Use them to decorate your bindings with fancy gold stuff.