Book conservation and repair workshop: intermediate and advanced

Course Dates: 01/05/19 - 10/07/19
Time: 18:00 - 21:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Tutor: Gavin Moorhead

Ideal if you have some bookbinding conservation experience and want to develop your skills further by working on your own projects with advice and guidance. Each term will include demonstrations that focus on a different aspect of book conservation.


What is the course about?

This is one of three short courses which teach conservation methods for paper (VD245), cloth (VD246) and leather bound books (VD247). These courses are aimed at learners with some basic experience in bookbinding or book conservation and will comprise instruction on a range of conservation techniques including archival housing for bindings. The courses cover both the theory and practice of book conservation and students will, through practical exercise, gain the skills and experience to be able to conserve and repair their own items. Students are expected to provide their own books on which to work.

What students liked most about this course run in 2015/16:

"The number of varied projects covered by participants during the course was great. Also the mix and match of newcomers like me with experienced practitioners made for a great atmosphere."


What will we cover?

• Different leather binding styles
• Leather degradation characteristics
• In-situ repair of leather bindings using Japanese paper
• Different endpapers and ways of attaching boards
• Spine lining
• Repair of text-blocks and covers using various materials
• Sewing and re-casing/binding options
• Leather paring
• Leather re-backing
• Making a drop-back box.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Describe three principle styles of leather bindings
• Identify calf and goat skin
• Identify typical degradation characteristics of leather
•Name some characteristics of degraded leather bound books
•Explain a practical conservation approach appropriate for the type of damage to a book
•Use learned skills to restore leather covered boards and damaged pages.
•Conserve a leather-bound book with a variety of materials including animal skin, Japanese tissue and Western paper.
•Construct a drop-back archive box.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an intermediate course for individuals wishing to expand and develop their book conservation skills. Some previous bookbinding and book conservation experience is required. This means a basic knowledge of: book structures, binding styles, how book materials deteriorate; damage characteristics, and repair options. You should be familiar with the terminology used, and have a reasonable level of confidence and dexterity in handling materials and tools.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Weekly topics follow the linear aspects of book conservation, from damage assessment through various treatment options to completion of work. Each student will work on their own items. There will be demonstrations, and one-to-one practical teaching.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You should provide a book(s) to work on, and have this/these available at the beginning of the course. The bindery is equipped with most of the specialist tools, but you will be expected to use your own hand tools and come equipped with a range of tools including:

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• knives (scalpel, utility or craft and leather paring) and spare blades
• brushes in a range of sizes
• a steel rule or straight edge with measured increments
• pair of dividers
• pair of tweezers
• large and small bone folders.
• craft scissors or shears of reasonable quality
• paring knife

The class has some materials which may be bought and you will be given guidance for providing your own.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Build runs a range of conservation courses each year such as VD204 Book conservation: vellum You may also be interested in VD3232 Knife sharpening workshop or wish to expand your experience with other Build bookbinding courses such as VD316 Wooden boarded binding, VD434 Bradel binding or VD285 Bookbinding: Longstitch, Coptic and secret Belgian binding. Your tutor will be able to advise you during this course.

General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Customer Reviews 2 item(s)

Write a review

Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

This course is suitable for anyone interested in repairing books sympathetically; a little previous experience of bookbinding is helpful but not essential. There is a different emphasis in the three terms - paper bindings in the autumn, cloth in the spring and leather in the summer - for the less experienced, but the teaching is tailored to the students' abilities and interests. The calm friendly atmosphere enables us to see and learn from the techniques that the others are using.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 24/11/2018)
Everything about the course is ideal for me; I am able to work on my own projects at my own pace using the good facilities and resources here. The tutor provides sound advice and expert assistance when I need it, as well as very good demonstrations of various techniques.
Course Rating
Review by NA / (Posted on 20/04/2015)

Book your place

Course Code: VD247

Wed, eve, 01 May - 10 Jul '19

Duration: 11 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Full fee: £339.00
Senior fee: £339.00
Concession: £207.00

Or call to enrol: 222-66-889-99

Download form & post

Any questions? [email protected]
or call 020 7492 2700/2703

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online . You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.

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