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Types of Bookbinding

All bookbinding tasks share similar principles. However, there are different approaches and different requirements that reflect different ways of working. For example, some people are motivated to create books of their own design, while others are  concerned with repairing old books or bookbinding with view to protecting a book's content.

All bookbinders have to understand the same core principles, but some people tend to concentrate their bookbinding skills in one area rather than another. It is purely a matter of choice. Many of our members try different approaches and vary what they do from time to time.

The following are some of the major areas where people work. Have a look at these and follow the links to our Gallery of member's work.


Most class members, at some stage, are involved in the restoration of old or damaged books. The books might have been in their family for many years — family Bibles, favourite recipe books or childhood annuals and other books.

The skills acquired and the support and equipment available to them in the class, means that members can soon become capable of quite sophisticated repairs.

Often members bring in books to bind that they have obtained from second-hand bookshops or eBay. Such books can be in a very sad state or extremely old (or both!). It is very satisfying to 'rescue' a volume for future readers. Look at the Gallery

Designer Bookbinding

A well publicised branch of binding is Designer Bookbinding.
This can become an art form in itself, where the binder designs a casing reflective of the content of the book itself and exhibits a high standard of craft skill.

There are annual competitions, some organized by The Society of Bookbinders, in which participants are given themes to explore and then create an appropriate binding which is then judged. There are also international competitions for book binders show off to a larger audience. Look at the Gallery


Several members have used their bookbinding skills to archive journals and other periodicals they own, so that they are readily accessible for their own reference purposes. This is very much in the spirit of archiving encountered in libraries. The bookbinder is able to design cases according to their requirements and then block  titles and appropriate serial numbers so that they have a professional record on their own bookshelves. Look at the Gallery

Craft Bookbinding

Several members have used the opportunities provided by the Bookbinding Class to create specialist bindings such as wedding albums or photograph albums often tailored to the requirements of their own family members.

Some of these bindings that members have created have been inspired by things they have seen elsewhere, in shops or on the Internet. Look at the Gallery

Boxes and slip cases

Many specially bound books require additional protection, so boxes, slip-cases or chemises are made in which they can be stored. The boxes themselves need to be robust and are often designed to complement the book they are protecting. Look at the Gallery