Build bookbinding: intermediate

Course Dates: 07/10/19 - 16/03/20
Time: 18:00 - 21:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Gavin Moorhead

An intermediate-level course for students with some experience. Learn new skills and techniques. Develop and build on existing knowledge in traditional and contemporary bookbinding, including leather paring and fine binding.


What is the course about?

This course is for students with some bookbinding experience who wish to build on their skills and experience and move towards an advanced level of competency. You will learn about structures, techniques, materials, terminology, tools and equipment and investigate historical and contemporary themes and examples. An important aim of the course will be to build the confidence and knowledge to be able to select and use design methods and techniques in individual bookbinding practice to a high standard.

What will we cover?

We will look at an essential variety of bookbinding methods and techniques, including:
- The functions of different sewing structures.
- Construction and use of different styles of endpapers.
- Developing forwarding techniques by practising rounding, backing and lining the spine of a text-block, and hand sewing endbands.
- Preparing laminated cover boards for different ways of attachment.
- Learning the principle behind, and how to form a spine hollow.
- Selecting, maintening and sharpening of paring knives, spokeshaves and associated tools.
- Choosing suitable leather for styles of bookbinding and preparing the leather using hand held knives, shaving tools and paring machines.
- During the course students will bind a book in half leather. There will be the opportunity for more experienced students to undertake more challenging options, subject to discussion.
- As a group we will look at book history and the design elements of contemporary book structures. We will touch on how bookbinding can relate to visual art and consider incorporation of design elements into individual work projects.

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

- Use a variety of sewing techniques and sewing supports to sew a multi-section text-block
- Select and use the appropriate thread to create correct swell for a rounded and backed text-block
- Make different endpapers, appropriate for particular binding styles
- Use a vertical plough to trim the edges of a book
- Round and back a text-block correctly to fit laced-on boards
- Create a hand-sewn headband
- Make, chamfer and lace-on laminated boards
- Line a text-block spine with a hollow
- Sharpen, maintain and be proficient with leather paring tools.
- Select, pare and attach leather to cover, or part cover a book.
- Identify contemporary and historical styles of bindings
- Select and use design methods and elements in your bookbinding
- Move on to further study at an advanced level in fine binding or in conservation or artist’s books.

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

The course is aimed at students with some experience in bookbinding, (though not necessarily leather paring experience), who wish to further develop their skills. Some experience of bookbinding terminology would be beneficial. The course is not suitable for beginners. You will be expected to spend some time practicing sharpening paring tools during the class and this may not be suitable/comfortable for you if you suffer from wrist pain.

Prospective students should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions as well as use numbers, make simple measurements and calculate. Learning will be supported by demonstrations, hand-outs and safety information. You will be invited to take part in group discussion and be given the opportunity to work in pairs/small groups.

Please look at the rest of the course outline carefully to decide if you may benefit from support in your English and Mathematics skills to help you to take part fully in this class.

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

You will be taught by demonstration, and group tuition with individual attention whenever required. We will also use printed course notes. You may be asked to take part in a small group and pair work within the course. You may occasionally like to do some personal research and complete or revise work at home during the course, but all practical tuition work will be completed during the sessions.

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

- Some basic materials are included in the cost of the course. Other materials such as board and cloth can be purchased in the classroom.
- Students should bring some decorative/marbled paper with them in the first lesson in order to assemble ‘made’ endpapers that will be ready to sew in the second.
- Students will be expected to provide for their own, more specific requirements as the course progresses and you will be given advice about this by the tutor.
- As this is an intermediate level course, students will be expected to bring their own small tools to the class such as bone folders, cutting knife, steel ruler, dividers, paste brushes etc.
- You will need to provide your own paring knives. Your tutor will be able to advise you on this during the course.
- Please bring a sharp pencil and notebook to each class. You will be expected to make your own notes to supplement the course handouts.
- You may like to bring an apron to protect your clothes.

If you would like to buy art materials for your personal use outside of the course, Build students receive 10% discount off everything* from Cass Art, the UK's leading art supplies retailer. Your tutor will advise you on what you should buy. You will need to show your enrolment receipt in-store to receive your discount. Visit the Charing Cross shop at 13 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0EP or find your local shop at *Terms and conditions apply, visit

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

-VD320 Bookbinding: improvers' workshop
-VD198 Intermediate and higher
Specialist short courses
- VD338 Paper marbling
- VD357 Limp vellum binding
- VD434 Bradel binding
- VD316 Wooden boarded binding
- VD360 Bookbinding weekend: endband extravaganza.

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

Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Book your place

Course Code: VD322

Mon, eve, 07 Oct - 16 Mar '20

Duration: 20 sessions (over 24 weeks)

Full fee: £599.00
Senior fee: £599.00
Concession: £365.00

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.