About the Bookweb

A computing teacher once told me that the ideal website to construct was the one you wanted to find on the Internet, but which didn't already exist.

When I started binding in 2002, I wanted an instructional website aimed at a beginning amateur binder. My ideal site would have had sections on making or adapting tools and equipment, specific techniques, and some basic (but challenging) binds illustrated and described end to end. Book reviews, to navigate the plethora of binding books available, would have been nice. A gallery of the author's work, preferably with a frank discussion of early mistakes and lessons, might have been of interest.

This is that site.

The goal of the bookweb is to encourage you, dear reader, to become a better binder. I believe that, as a craft, bookbinding requires one to practice to achieve mastery. I know many people who take binding classes from time to time, but who don't get the kind of intensive, repetitive practice that drives them up the learning curve. There are various obstacles to binding outside of a course: lack of equipment, lack of money, lack of informaton and instruction, lack of confidence, lack of space, lack of time. I can't help you with the lack of time; with two small children and a job, all I can do is sympathise. But I hope that the tips, descriptions, reviews, and confessions of error on this site can help you remove whatever other obstacles you have and get you binding.

Remember, too, that some of the greatest obstacles to binding may well be between your ears. If there's one thing I've learned from the time I've spent bookbinding, one thing I would like to convey on this site, it's don't be afraid. Don't be afraid to experiment - you may produce something magical. Don't be afraid to make a mistake - you will learn more from it than from a dozen perfect binds. Don't be afraid to be less than perfect, to laugh at yourself, to admit your errors. We learn from our trials more than we do from our successes, and more from our risks than from our safety. And at the end of the day, it's only bookbinding. No off-true, badly-backed, poorly-pared book will make you less of a person (if it did, I'd be reduced to insecthood by now).

Also, I would encourage you to show others your work. Non-binders won't see the flaws you find catastrophic. And other binders will probably be more interested in finding out how you achieved your successes than in noticing any failures.

Last of all, be aware that I am a self-taught amateur. The techniques described here are based on my own trial and error, and do not always represent best practice. Do not use me as your sole guide, particularly when doing archival work or restoration on anything valuable or irreplaceable.

Enjoy the site. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me on abi-at-evilrooster-dot-com.