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May 8, 2008

Review: The Bookbinding Guy Video Workshop

Filed under: Review — jackie @ 7:58 pm

Good evening readers.

As promised, here is my review of The Bookbinding Guy Video Workshop.


Frankie Ridolfi is a man after my own bookbinding heart. In his new video, The Bookbinding Guy Video Workshop, he states what I’ve been saying for years, that you don’t need any special tools or equipment to make books. That you may already have what you need sitting around the house.

From the site, “There’s a reason this ancient craft has been taught through apprenticeship—the best way to learn is to watch someone and then try it yourself. In this spirit, The Book Binding Guy Video Workshop passes the secrets of quality book making on to you.”…”High-quality doesn’t have to mean high-priced.  For less than the cost of one hand-made book in a retail store or a one-time bookmaking class, this DVD teaches you to make as many books as you like. The tools needed are common and inexpensive—you probably own many of them already.”

The book that Frankie teaches us how to make on his DVD is reminiscent of the traditional style bindings found during the late 19th and early 20th century. Frankie puts his own spin on the binding technique for this classic binding. They have leather spines with raised bands and decorative paper covers. Each step in the binding process is broken down into manageable parts and his method of binding has made some of the harder tasks, such as adding leather to the spine area and headbands, easier for beginners to master.

One of the things that I like about the video is that, instead of just talking to the camera, Frankie teaches us while he is teaching a student.Â

When you open the case for the 90 min. DVD the first thing you’ll find is a quick start guide with tips for getting started. On the DVD, Frankie breaks the bookbinding process down into five parts. He starts off with a description of the tools and materials needed to start your book. He walks the viewer through the basics of preparing the paper, sewing the signatures onto cords and preparing the block. In addition, he includes instructions for sewing headbands onto the block and using leather for the spine of your book.

As an extra bonus, Frankie includes a PDF on the disk of bonus items and information. The PDF includes resources such as materials suppliers, checklists for tools and materials, a step by step cheat sheet of the process as well as a printing primer that describes how to setup and print text for binding into a book.

You’ll definitely want to read all the supplied materials and watch the video all the way through at least once before starting the project.

The DVD is $39.99 and can be ordered directly through the website or as a download from filmbaby.com.

The easy to follow step by step process and Frankie’s even paced and relaxed style of teaching make this DVD perfect for anyone brand new to bookbinding as well as someone who is looking to add a few new skills to the ones that they already have.

I give this DVD tutorial Thumbs upThumbs up.

(Please note: All photographs featured in this article are copyright of Frankie Ridolfi.)

• • •

February 23, 2008

Saturday morning musings and a little film review…

Filed under: Morning Musings, Review — jackie @ 11:05 am

Good morning readers.

I enjoyed my trip over to the Mid Atlantic Quilt festival yesterday. I checked aout all the booths and amazing quilts, spent my allowance, had lunch and came home exhausted. I bought some really cool things to utilize in my book making. I’ll be showing you in the days to come.

Of note…

While searching the web, I found this site with photos from a Medieval Girdle Book Installation. The Girdle Book: Todays Fashion Accessory for the Modern Man or Woman. Don’t you just love the title? It’s a show with nothing but girdle books. Make sure to check out the page with details about the books. Unfortunately there are no close ups of the books.

As promised…

The Leather Bound Book is the most recent in the series of instructional DVD’s by New Zealand bookbinder Peter Goodwin. The film is produced, filmed and narrated by Janette Heffernen of Jan Mila Ltd.

From the site: “In this DVD master bookbinder Peter Goodwin demonstrates in detail how he achieves this traditional binding, easily, with little fuss. Peter Goodwin has been binding books for over 64 years and is now perhaps one of the last fully apprenticed journeyman bookbinders still practicing his craft.

Thanks to ‘perfect binding’ and the Brittle Book Syndrome traditional bookbinders are no longer needed. The fully bound beautifully decorated leather book is a joy to behold and a joy from which to read. Soon the only way one can own one of these attractive and costly books will be to do it yourself.

Peter Goodwin shows how he does it so in the years to come the craft of bookbinding will not be lost.”

In the film, Peter walks us through the steps for rebinding an old book in full leather. All of the techniques that he demonstrates are clearly understandable and the DVD will give you a very good idea of the work involved in binding a book in full leather.

As with Peter’s other DVD’s, some familiarity with basic bookbinding on the part of the viewer is assumed.

Peter shows us how to take a book apart and prepare it for resewing as well as setting up the frame and sewing the book on cords. He also walks us through adding endsheets, lacing the cords onto the covers and preparing the hollow spine.

Peter does give an overview of the knives that he uses for leather paring and how the leather is pared for binding and briefly shows some paring of the leather but does not give an in depth demonstration of the technique. He does show that very little paring is needed at the edges of the leather as you can take care of the extra thickness of the leather at the turn ins by adding card to fill in the area before applying the endsheets.

Peter’s demonstration of applying the leather covering to the book is very thorough and understandable. He also demonstrates hand gilding of the cover and spine of the book.

What I like about the DVD is that Mr. Goodwin breaks the techniques that he demonstrates down into managable stages that makes it easier for someone who has never done the them to do them for the first time.

I always learn new tips and techniques to add to my “toolbox” when watching Peter’s videos. Peter’s “down to earth” style of demonstrating and humorous chatter throughout the film makes you feel like you are working right  alongside him in his bindery.

Whether you are a beginner or experienced binder, this video is well worth adding to your library.

I give this DVD tutorial Thumbs upThumbs up.

I hope everyone has a great day.

• • •

May 30, 2007

I seemed to have lost Tuesday…

Filed under: Morning Musings, Review — jackie @ 9:20 am

Good morning readers.

Yesterday was a crazy day. It was one of those days that got away from me and I never seemed to be able to catch up with it.

Recently on one of my Amazon shopping sprees I bought a DVD titled Bookbinding: A Traditional Technique. It is an excellent DVD for someone just starting out in binding as it covers the basics very thoroughly. The DVD is 63 minutes long and teaches you how to make a simple hardcover book from start to finish. You’ll learn about basic tools and paper grain as well as how to build your own simple press and sewing frame. The DVD also includes PDF files detailing the construction of the press and sewing frame and a supply list. Normally, I wouldn’t have gotten such a basic video for myself but for the price of only $14.99 I wanted to see if it would be useful for some of you readers who are just starting to learn how to bind a book.

For being a worthwhile beginner DVD I give this tutorial aThumbs upThumbs up.

Now…I’m thinking on perhaps having a little contest with this DVD as the prize. I’ll get back to you all shortly on that. :)

If you haven’t been to the forum recently be sure to surf on over and check out Janette Heffernen’s post about Peter Goodwins leather paring knives.

I hope everyone has a great day.

• • •

May 22, 2007

DVD Review: The 1819 Atlas

Filed under: Review — jackie @ 6:02 pm

Good afternoon readers.

It’s been another fine day weather wise here in Va. Beach. I was up and out early this morning to meet with a client about taking some photographs. When I returned I was able to sit down and finally watch the bookbinding DVD Restoring The 1819 Atlas all the way through.

The 1819 Atlas is another in the series of DVD’s produced by Janette Heffernen of New Zealand bookbinder Peter Goodwin demonstrating various bookbinding techniques.

Here is the description from the site: In this DVD, master bookbinder Peter Goodwin shows how he approaches this unusual binding. At the same time he demonstrates how he binds the traditional half-bound leather book which is seen in libraries all over the world. To make the maps in an atlas lie straight with no thread showing requires a special sewing technique. He demonstrates the use of the ‘plough’. This was the old fashioned method of cutting edges before the guillotine was invented. It is rarely seen today and written explanations are hard to understand. However once seen never forgotten. Colored hand-sewn head bands, paper repair and traditional half-leather binding are also covered in detail. It is a treat to watch Peter Goodwin show how easy it is for beginners to work with leather. His no fuss approach is refreshing. 

As with the Account Binding DVD, some basic familiarity with bookbinding on the part of the viewer is assumed. The DVD is a good overall video on the techniques for repairing an old atlas but not an indepth step by step tutorial.

If you are new to binding you will be able to follow the process as each step he shows is clearly demonstrated and understandable and the DVD will give you a very good idea of the work involved in repairing an old book.

What I like about the DVD is that Mr. Goodwin breaks the techniques that he demonstrates down into managable stages that makes it easier for someone who has never done the techniques to do them for the first time.

Mr. Goodwin does a nice job of explaining how guards work and there is a clear demonstration on how to sew headbands onto the book. He also demonstrates the use of a plough as well as offers some good tips on paper repair.

If you are interested in doing leatherwork Mr. Goodwin shows you a no fuss way to apply the prepared leather to the spine and corners of the binding. He does not demonstrate how the leather is pared for binding though. I believe that there is an upcoming DVD in the works showing how to do a full leather binding and hopefully there will be a demonstration on the leather paring technique as well.

If are an experienced binder the DVD is well worth watching to pick up a few good tips and techniques to add to your “toolbox”.

While watching the DVD I felt like I was right in the studio with Mr. Goodwin. He has a down to earth style and sense of humor that makes the DVD fun to watch.

I give this DVD tutorial Thumbs upThumbs up.

• • •

May 4, 2007

DVD Review: The Springback Ledger Binding

Filed under: Review — jackie @ 1:47 pm

This morning I got the DVD I ordered from CustomFlix. I have to say that turn around time is impressive as I ordered it Monday afternoon and I paid to have it sent regular mail instead of FedEx. The order form indicated that I would recieve it by May 17 so I def. wasn’t expecting to see it in my mailbox this morning.

If you’re not familiar with CustomFlix it is a site where folks who produce their own videos can sell them to the public. Basically they copy it and package it and ship it to the customer for you. The site is associated with Amazon.com.

Of course I had sit down and watch the whole thing instead of doing my work. :)

The DVD that I purchased is one in a series of DVD tutorials by New Zealand bookbinder Peter Goodwin. The DVD is entitled The Account Book. Here is the description from the site: In this DVD master bookbinder Peter Goodwin shows in detail how to make an account book or a ’springback’ ledger, as it is known in the trade. It is a style of binding that allows a book to lie flat so you can write right up to the margins. In olden times this was the usual binding for stationery books. Springback ledgers are the test of a bookbinder’s craft. This type of binding is considered challenging and is usually avoided by lesser mortals as “too hard.” However master bookbinder Peter Goodwin is well up to the task. As a young apprentice in Nottingham, Peter Goodwin and his master, “Harry”, turned out 300 of this type of binding every three weeks. With his no nonsense attitude Peter Goodwin shows how to make one of these difficult books. The secrets of the springback are revealed for all to admire. The split boards, the stippling, the tab and the springback tube are all tackled with skill and good humor.

What I loved about the DVD…I felt like I was right in the studio with Mr. Goodwin. That he was talking to me and I was getting a personal demonstration of how to do the binding. I loved that it wasn’t setup or rehearsed. It was fun to see him root around his messy desk for tools (like I do) and have lunch or a cup of coffee while waiting for things to dry.

A few small things that bothered me about the DVD…it was a bit shaky at times and some of the zoom- ins were fuzzy. There were times when the camera was focusing on Mr. Goodwin instead of what he was doing. The camera eventually panned to what he was working on.

I had read the online springback tutorial over on the Book Arts Web but still had a few questions about things that weren’t quite clear to me. I am one of those folks who has to see it being done or have the procedure worked out in my head before I start.  After watching the DVD I would feel very comfortable tackling a springback binding. I am excited as I also picked up a few binding tips from the film.

Is this a DVD I would reccommend for beginners? It’s def. not a tutorial for someone that has never bound a book before. There are parts that are skipped or gone over quickly as some familiarity with bookbinding on the part of the watcher is assumed. That doesn’t mean that a beginner shouldn’t purchase the DVD as it is def. worth watching even if you are new to binding as each step is clearly demonstrated and will be more understandable as you get some basic bookbinding skills and knowledge under your belt.

I know some of you will ask…the tutorial does not address the use of leather as a covering. Mr. Goodwin demostrates the techniques using bookcloth but there is no reason why you couldn’t use a thin leather instead of the bookcloth as the same basic procedure applies.

For those of you who have been itching to try your hand at making a springback book and are looking for a good basic tutorial I reccommend this tutorial as it will def. demystify the process for you and at $35.00 it’s a great value for the money.

I give this DVD tutorial Thumbs upThumbs up.

• • •

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