The BinderyMilwaukee, WI, United States

Masterclass: Full Leather, Hardcover Binding (Traditional Raised Band Style)

By The Bindery (other events)

Thu, Apr 25 2024 6:00 PM CDT Thu, Jun 6 2024 9:00 PM CDT

Join this season's popular, 7-session Masterclass taught by bookbinding expert, Daniel Ehn. In this intermediate-to-advanced level workshop, students will craft a hardcover blank book, fully-covered in fine goatskin, from start to finish. An intimate class size of just five students keeps the environment focused and highly personalized.

This series is geared toward students with foundational experience in crafting hardcover books—either through their own practice, or taking an intermediate level hardcover/sewn binding class in the past.  (Students are encouraged to first take our Hardcover 101 and Hardcover 102 courses in the run-up to this Masterclass: each builds upon the last to ensure the appropriate skills are obtained.)

This class runs seven consecutive Thursdays:
April 25th, 6pm to 9pm
May 2nd, 6pm to 9pm
May 9th, 6pm to 9pm
May 16th, 6pm to 9pm
May 23rd, 6pm to 9pm
May 30th, 6pm to 9pm
June 6th, 6pm to 9pm


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 exterior work, and subtle foil decoration. *This course will not focus on foundational basics of binding: students should already be familiar with standard bookbinding practices.

We’ll use our seven sessions to learn the more specialized aspects of traditional binding with 100% hands-on instruction using our in-house equipment, and high-grade professional materials (all provided).

  • *Important note: this course includes instruction on leather preparation and paring using a specialized English Paring knife. The cost of the class includes a brand new knife that each student will keep. If you already have an English Paring knife, please select that option at check out.

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

Each of the above will be fully taught with hands-on demonstration and guidance during this all-inclusive masterclass experience. Please see the schedule below for details.


Session 1:

  • Introduction to traditional hand 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:

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

Session 3:

  • Introduction to headbands and leather preparation
  • Headband sewing tutorial
  • Final spine preparation

Session 4:

  • Bookboard preparation for cords and lacing-in
  • Leather preparation and paring*
  • *Reminder that an English paring knife is required: please select the option to bring your own (or not) at check out

Session 5:

  • Final leatherwork
  • Covering the book with leather

Sessions 6 & 7:

  • Final pastedown and full marriage of pageblock and covers
  • Hot iron polish work on exterior leather
  • Gold foil tooling along spine
  • Spine label creation and 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 introductory 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