The BinderyMilwaukee, WI, United States

Full Leather, Hardcover Binding: 19th Century Raised Band Style

By The Bindery (other events)

Thu, Jan 11 2024 6:00 PM CST Thu, Feb 8 2024 9:00 PM CST

In this intermediate level class, students will craft a hardcover blank journal, fully-cased in fine goatskin, from start to finish. This series is geared toward students with foundational experience in crafting hardcover books—either through their own practice, or taking at least an introduction to hardcover/sewn binding in the past.

This class runs five consecutive Thursdays:
January 11th, 6pm to 9pm
January 18th, 6pm to 9pm
January 25th, 6pm to 9pm
February 1st, 6pm to 9pm
February 8th, 6pm to 9pm

This course may be taken solo but is also offered as the final master class in a series of technical workshops offered earlier in our autumn cycle which build up to this final book project. Please consider taking the below prior to joining this class:

  1. Leather 101: Prepping for Bookwork
    >> Highly recommended for binders with no leather paring experience <<
    (If the class has already closed: please reach out regarding a private lesson.)
  2. Handsewn Headbands
    > Recommended for the best, traditional outcome.
    (Student will have time to try handsewn bands in class, or use modern, pre-made headbands if they are not familiar/comfortable with the practice.)
  3. Inspired Marbling Techniques
    > Optional fun (if you’d like to make your own endpapers to use).
    All other students will be provided with pre-made marbled paper for their endsheets.


Taking cues from 19th Century utilitarian bookbinding, The Bindery's lead bookbinder, Daniel Ehn, will guide students through the traditional techniques used in sewn-on-cord binding, leather case work, and subtle exterior decoration. *This course will not focus on foundational basics of binding: students should already be familiar with standard bookbinding practices and have made at least one book in the past in order to feel successful in this course.

We’ll use our five sessions to focus on more specialized aspects of traditional binding with 100% hands-on instruction using our in-house tools/equipment, and high-grade materials (all provided). Students are encouraged to bring their own tools that they are familiar with and comfortable using, should they prefer.

Bookbinders will leave this course with their own beautiful 6”x9” blank journal, cased in goatskin. Each book will have a simple edge decoration on the page block, sewn (or pre-made) headbands, cords laced into the front and back boards (and showcased as raised bands on the spine), gold foil tooling, and a contrasting, onlaid leather label.


Session 1, January 11th:

  • Introduction to 19th Century styles of binding…and the class ahead!
  • Paper prep: folding, cutting, signature creation, hole punching
  • Sewing tutorial and start: using a frame to sew on cords

Session 2, January 18th:

  • Finalize sewing
  • Rounding and backing the page block
  • Page block and endsheet simple edge decoration

Session 3, January 25th:

  • Book board preparation
  • Headband sewing (or glued attachment if pre-made bands are preferred)
  • *Reminder to take Handsewn Headbands in the run-up if you’d like to sew your own and don’t know how!

Session 4, February 1st:

  • Leather: intro and discussion
  • Leather prep and paring*
  • Final case creation
  • *Reminder to take Leather 101 if you’ve never pared leather before and have no prior experience with the material.

Session 5, February 8th:

  • Final pastedown and incorporation of the page block into the case
  • Hot iron polish work on exterior
  • Gold foil tooling along spine
  • Spine label application
  • (Congrats! It’s done!)


Please reach out if you would like to take this course but are not sure if you have the right level of experience to do so. We want to set everyone up for success and a fun, low-stress experience! We offer private tutorials if you have missed a suggested technique class or want to brush up on something before leaping in. Give us a ring to learn more: 414-482-3630.

>> Special safety note: this class involves paring leather with an extremely sharp blade. Even professional binders are prone to small cuts during the leather paring process. We ask that anyone attending this course arrive with this in mind. Caution, care, and a steady hand are necessary and potential students should assess their own comfort and skill level prior to signing up. A first aid kit is on hand at all times. 



*Masks are not required at the time of this posting, but are very welcome. This may change by the time of the class, and The Bindery reserves the right to require masks or other safety precautions at any time. Participants will be alerted to any changes prior to the workshop.

*Due to the small nature of classes and the upfront materials costs, The Bindery has a no refunds or exchanges policy. If you cannot make it for some reason, please send a friend in your stead and let us know!

The Bindery

Mailing Address

347 E. Ward Street Milwaukee, WI 53207