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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.)

• • •


  1. Thanks Jackie,
    So good to see a review from someone you know and trust. Sounds as though it would be worth having in the collection.

    Comment by Carol — May 9, 2008 @ 9:53 am
  2. I was pretty impressed with the promotional material, but glad you approve! (I’ve already referred one newbie — after, of course, suggesting some of your stuff in particular and the book arts forum in general.

    Hope you are enjoying your break!


    Comment by Cathryn Miller — May 9, 2008 @ 2:26 pm
  3. Thanks Jackie

    Great review, I look forward to purchasing this as soon as funds allow. Frankie was very helpful and answered any questions I had about this DVD really promptly on the forum, so I would be confident in buying it from him.


    Comment by Billie — May 9, 2008 @ 2:46 pm
  4. Wonderful information! Thanks so much!

    Comment by Kiley — May 9, 2008 @ 10:17 pm
  5. I’ve never made a hardbound journal before and I’m interested in giving it a go…I ordered this dvd and I’m looking forward to trying it out. :)

    Comment by lapaperie — May 12, 2008 @ 6:10 pm
  6. umm this is a very immoral question…but theft is only immoral if you get caught.
    Anyway i don’t have the money to buy this dvd and this really does look like the real thing. i mean you can find millions of vidoes on you tube and other sites and hundreds of articles and what not but this guy really seems to know what he’s doing.

    Sadly unlike every other video workshop you can find online this one can’t be downloaded for free…

    so i was wondering if someone could upload this?

    i know it’s a criminal offence and im sure this comment will be deleted
    but still, just wondering..

    Comment by ussama — July 28, 2010 @ 4:15 am
  7. The video is very good and well worth saving up the money to purchase it.

    There are a bunch of good free written tutorials that you might find helpful in learning how to bind traditional books. One of my favorites is by Dave the Designer and can be found here http://davethedesigner.net/booktut/ They are very clear instructions with lots of photos.

    You can find a bunch of other free ones on my site http://www.tjbookarts.com/otherlinks.htm

    I also have a list of books and DVD’s on my site http://www.tjbookarts.com/books.htm The last one, Bookbinding A Traditional Technique, is pretty good and you can pick it up on Amazon for less than $15.

    Also, check out the Bookbinding Forum. The members there are happy to answer bookbinding related questions. http://www.bookartsforum.com/

    Kind regards,


    Comment by jackie — July 28, 2010 @ 6:19 am
  8. This looks great! Check out some things I’ve been working on at melodiebooks.com

    Comment by Elise — November 7, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

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