Hand Bookbinding: A Manual of Instruction

by Aldren A. Watson

Bell Publising Company, 1963

readability rating
4 star readability rating Excellent diagrams illustrate detailed instructions on binding, and toolmaking for binding.
content rating
3 star content rating This is an introductory book, with limited technical depth for the more advanced reader. However, the suggestions for making your own tools are clear and practical.

My father found this book in my old used bookshop, Moe's books of Berkeley. It turns up on ebay a lot, for good reason. It's the best of the basic introductory binding books I have run across.

The Good Stuff
This book starts from ground zero and explains a number of binding projects in detail. They are not necessarily "quick wins", but rather are designed to teach the basic techniques that go into all quality bindings.
The illustrations are excellent. The book is proof that a good line drawing is better than a murky photo. These illustrations also add value to the equipment section, where Watson describes how to make a number of useful tools to help with binding.
Could Do Better
There is very little the book attempts but fails at. However, it stops short of describing the more advanced techniques. It is a beginner's book rather than a reference to return to again and again.
Best Bit
I love the typography and style of this book. It is so essentially un-modern, like the funky instructional books I used to browse on my parents' shelves as a child.