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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.

• • •


  1. Sounds neat! I wish someone would make the Introduction to Bookbinding DVDs as well, for those of us who don’t have access to classes and such. Excellent review and I’ll definitely look this one up.

    Comment by Lynn — May 4, 2007 @ 2:07 pm
  2. Have you found any books that clearly describe springback binding? I don’t really want to shell out the money for a dvd (I’d much rather buy a book), and I didn’t really get as much as I wanted out of the Book Arts Web tutorial. There’s got to be a book somewhere with good instructions!

    Comment by Jennifer — June 8, 2007 @ 3:32 pm
  3. Jennifer,

    There are books that mention the binding but I haven’t found any that give a good step by step tutorial. The Book Arts Web tutorial is the closest you’ll get to good instructions that I know of. The DVD makes a great companion to the tutorial and is worth the money as it will answer alot of the questions that you have from the Book Arts Web instructions. You also learn some shortcuts to making the tube.

    I hope this helps.


    Comment by jackie — June 8, 2007 @ 3:51 pm

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