City Lit fine binding: advanced

Course Dates: 18/09/18 - 09/04/19
Time: 10:00 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Tutor: Kathy Abbott, Nesta Davies

A unique, advanced level course enabling you to make a full leather binding with a strong creative element. Learn specialist techniques such as: leather-jointed endpapers, guarding, edge gilding/decoration, tool sharpening, hand paring, covering, inlays/onlays and doublures. Not suitable for beginners. Applications for this course will be reviewed on the 5th of June and interviews will take place on the 12th of June. There will be a second interview date in August and we will continue to accept applications until then.

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City Lit fine binding: advanced


What is the course about?

This is a detailed, advanced level course which will enable you to make a full leather fine binding with a strong creative element. Forwarding and decorative skills and techniques will be explored and practised and students will be encouraged to work to a high individual standard at all times. You will be expected to respond creatively to the content of your chosen book, so it is important that you bring a book that means something to you. This course is for advanced level students only.

What will we cover?

All the techniques and processes preparatory to covering a full-leather fine binding, i.e. board lamination; decorative leather-jointed endpapers; preparing stubs (for books in the wrong grain direction); sewing on a frame; rounding and backing; edge gilding or edge decoration; lacing on boards; end banding; spine linings and the final preparation for covering. All aspects preparatory to the covering process, such as tool preparation and leather paring. Then covering in full leather; decorative techniques; putting down leather joints; trimming out and filling-in and putting in leather or paper doublures.

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

• Make two types of laminated boards
• Guard sections and undertake paper repairs
• Decorate and construct leather-jointed endpapers
• Rough-edge gild the pages of your book or decorate the edges with acrylic paints
• Prepare and sew on stubs (if necessary)
• Sew the book on a frame, and create 25% swell
• Round and back correctly
• Sew multi-coloured endbands
• Chamfer and lace on boards
• Sharpen tools
• Hand pare leather accurately using a spokeshave
• Cover a book in full leather
• Put down leather joints
• Prepare and put in paper/leather doublures (board linings).

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

This is an advanced level course aimed at students who wish to increase their knowledge and refine their skill. Learners should have at least two years experience in bookbinding to at least an intermediate level and have had some experience in hand-paring leather. This course is therefore not suitable for beginners.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and for health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion. You should be able to use numbers and be able to do simple measurements and calculations.

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

Demonstration, group and individual tuition. You may need to work outside the class to catch up if necessary.

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

The bindery is equipped with most tools but you will be expected to provide your own personal hand tools. The class has some materials which may be bought, but you will need to buy leather and some specific hand-made papers. You should expect to spend around £100 (over the duration of the course) on materials over and above the cost of your chosen book. Information and advice on materials and larger pieces of equipment will always be available.
It is essential you bring a suitable book to bind to the very first session. It should be of good quality paper with a good standard of typography – please ask in advance if you're unsure of what to bring.

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

You may also like to further your learning with a course on gold tooling or leather techniques or by enrolling on a City Lit bookbinding masterclass. There is also VD197 Intermediate/Advanced bookbinding and VD413 Book Club where you can work on individual projects supported by a tutor in a workshop situation. Your tutor will be able to advise you during this course.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit 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.

General information and advice on courses at City Lit 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


This course has now started

Course Code: VD194

Started Tue, day, 18 Sep - 09 Apr '19

Duration: 26 sessions (over 30 weeks)

Full fee: £1,149.00
Senior fee: £919.00
Concession: £701.00

Call us to check your level, see if you can still join the course or to discuss other suitable courses

020 7492 2700/2703

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