SoB/DB Joint Workshops 2023-24

Society of Bookbinders > Education > SoB/DB Joint Workshops 2023-24

2023-2024 Programme

In conjunction with Designer Bookbinders the Society organises an annual series of weekend workshops. These workshops offer structured, intensive learning from established teachers and are designed to stress the ‘hands-on’ approach where students complete a structure or technique following demonstrations from the teacher. The size of each workshop is limited to allow students to benefit from individual attention.

Welcome to our 2023-2024 series of Workshops offered jointly by Designer Bookbinders and The Society of Bookbinders 

These workshops offer structured, intensive learning from established teachers in a friendly and cooperative environment. Places are limited to allow maximum learning and individual attention. 

We have kept the course fees for this year’s programme at the same level as last year and hope you agree they present excellent value.  Fees for each workshop are £185 for members or either Society, £205 for non members. There is a materials cost for most workshops which is payable to the tutor during the weekend.  Bursary help may be available for members of the Societies: please contact or as appropriate. If you are a member of both Societies you should apply to only one of them for a bursary.

Please ensure you include “SoB/DB Joint Workshops” in the subject line of any email enquiry.

To book a place on any of the workshops please visit

For any queries or further  information regarding the workshops, contact   

25-26 November 

Millimetre BInding  Dominic Riley, 

Northwich, Cheshire CW8 2NW

Scandinavian elegance embodied. This workshop is a good introduction to working with leather,  both by hand with a knife, and a using a paring machine.

The Millimetre binding is a quarter-leather style that is ingenious in construction and straightforward to make. Developed in Denmark during the 1940s as a response to leather shortages, it is a way of binding small, slim volumes using a minimal amount of leather – the name deriving from the fact that there is only 1mm of leather showing on the boards and corners. 

It is sewn on flattened, frayed-out cords, has a gently rounded spine with a small but sharp joint.  The boards are attached to the waste sheet prior to covering, with a simple paper and card hollow trapped between the board and waste sheet for strength. Good quality goatskin is used for the binding, which has leather headbands, a graphite top edge and pastepaper sides.

Suitable for … students with some bookbinding experience

There will be a Materials cost of £30 for this workshop. 

Dominic specialises in Design Binding and restoration. He has won over thirty prizes for his work, which is held in public and private collections worldwide. He is a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders and has served as President of the Society of Bookbinders. In In 2013 he won first prize in the DB International Competition. He spends about a third of his time teaching, both here and in the USA. He co-founded the Joint Workshops and the SoB Seminar, and is also co-founder of Book Camp UK. He has written the only full-length article in English on the making of the Millimetre binding (Bookbinder vol. 20, 2006).

This workshop will be held at Dominic’s own bindery and has a maximum number of 8 students.

10-11 February  2024  

Everybody Loves  a Box, Lori Sauer, 

Pewsey, Wiltshire SN9 6HJ

We are all familiar with the slipcase and the clamshell box. Both are important for protecting special bindings, but if you have budget constraints or a quick deadline then this is the perfect workshop for you.  I use a number of box structures,  made with heavy paper or card, that are just as robust and attractive as the more obvious choices. They involve accurate measuring and folding, little adhesive and sometimes the use of a magnet. 

Over the weekend we will  make at least 3 different boxes with enough time leftover to demonstrate a one-piece covering of a slipcase – no lumps or bumps – and doable in less than half an hour (once you learn the technique).

Suitable for… all levels

There will be a Materials cost of  £10 for this workshop.

Lori received a degree in Fine Art in the USA followed by an MA in English Literature. She moved to the UK in the early 1980s, studied bookbinding with Sally Lou Smith and David Sellars and set up her own workshop in the 1990s.

Elected as a Fellow of DB in 2001, Lori served as its President from 2015-19. She runs open studio classes throughout the year alongside her programme of international master-classes, BINDING re:DEFINED. She has bound a number of the short-listed authors for the Booker prize :,

This workshop will be held in Lori’s own bindery  and is limited to 8 students as a maximum.

16-17   March 2024 

Paper covered In-boards binding Arthur Green

Green’s Books, Hanley Swan, Worcestershire WR8 0EA

Prior to the adoption of cloth covered case bindings as the principle binding style in England in the 1830s, the in-board style was predominant. Bookbinders had simplified and refined binding in-boards to its bare essentials; leather had given way to paper for covering, edges were left un-cut, and gold tooling had been replaced with printed paper covers and spine labels. However, for even the cheapest work, books were still sewn by hand and boards were still laced on before covering. Many of these paper covered in-board bindings from the first decades of the 19th century have perished and those that survive are often overlooked due to their status as temporary bindings, but many do survive, and many have proven to be remarkably robust. This two-day workshop celebrates this early 19th century style. Students will make a model, from folding sections and sewing 2-up on a sewing frame to rounding and backing, lacing on boards and covering. 

Suitable for…those with some bookbinding experience

There will be a £30 materials fee for this workshop.

Arthur is an independent book conservator who owns and runs Green’s Books Ltd. near Malvern in the West Midlands. Since graduating with distinction from a Post Graduate Diploma in Conservation from Camberwell College of Arts in 2008, he has worked at institutions including the Leather Conservation Centre, The British Library, Oxford Conservation Consortium, and Oxford University’s Bodleian Library. Arthur is particularly interested in the history of bookbinding and has published widely on the subject.

This workshop will be held at  Green’s Books and has a maximum number of 6 students.

13-14  April 2024 

Sharpen up! Peter Jones 

Kelsall Community Centre, Cheshire, CW6 0SB

There are a number of operations we undertake as binders that require sharp tools. The common wedge-shaped backing boards and the similar colouring/edge gilding boards will need the working edges refreshing using a plane. We might be bevelling boards (with a plane or spokeshave), using chisels in preparation for lacing on, or covering in leather requiring  various knives and / or spokeshaves for paring tasks. For some, sharpening these tools can seem daunting; this short course aims to give you a little theory, some guidelines and advice on getting tools sharp initially, keeping them sharp, and some confidence.

Students will need to bring their own sharpening kit (oilstones, diamond stones, strops, whatever) and your tools to sharpen (planes, spokeshaves, paring knives, chisels). To check your success you also need items to work on (backing boards, gilding boards, book boards, leather for paring) plus workmate, bench hook and paring surface as appropriate, if you have them.

Suitable for…Beginners and Improvers

Peter: I might have been an economist but veered in the direction of furniture restoration, then carpentry, bookbinding and teaching. I’m particularly interested in the structure and mechanics of a binding and often use woods, plastics, multiple leathers or vellum. I have been a Fellow of DB since 1995 and have served on the Executive Committee over the years, as Treasurer and as President. 

This workshop will be held at Kelsall Community Centre  and has a maximum number of 10 students.

18-19 May 

Over the Edge and Across the Boards, Kate Holland, 

Corsely, Wiltshire, BA12 7PA

There are thirteen different planes on a book where you can express your creativity and edges and leather comprise over half of them. 

On day one we will be learning to prepare perfect edges ready for colour or graphite – please note this won’t be an edge gilding class. And on day two we will be exploring  myriad different techniques of manipulating and transforming leather, taking a fair calf or an alum tawed goat skin and creating unique textures and effects with dyeing, impressing, craquele and resist to name a few. 

All materials and tools will be supplied. Just bring your imagination. And a book with edges if you wish though not necessary.

Suitable for…all levels

There will be a Materials cost of £15 for this workshop.

Kate is a multi award-winning artist bookbinder, specialising in contemporary fine bindings to commission or for exhibition. Working from a converted cowshed, on the outskirts of Frome, she uses traditional materials and techniques to produce a unique, modern binding that reflects the text, illustrations and typeface of the book. She also works with individuals and private presses to produce the whole book, whether one offs or limited editions. She can advise on all aspects of book production from printing, through layout, to binding and boxes. She is a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders, has books in the British, Bodleian and Yale University Libraries as well as many public and private collections internationally and is a regular binder to the Booker prize as well as a recent QEST scholar. She is a very experienced teacher and has initiated many converts to the joys of bookbinding with patience and humour.


This workshop will be held at Kate’s own bindery and has a maximum number of 7  students.

8-9  June 2024  

Endpapers for Fine Bindings  Kathy Abbott

Barony Centre, West Kilbride KA23 9AR

A workshop aimed at intermediate and advanced learners, designed to develop your skills, accuracy and cleanliness when making endpapers for fine bindings. You will be taught how to make three different types of endpapers which are suitable for fine bindings: a simple ‘made endpaper’; a hidden cloth-jointed endpaper, and a leather-jointed zig-zag endpaper.   You will learn about the suitability of papers for endpapers and will go away with samples of each type. Not suitable for beginners. 

Suitable for… those with some experience,  not suitable for beginners.

There will be a materials charge for this workshop of £15

Kathy served a four-year apprenticeship in bookbinding and then gained an HND from the London College of Printing, followed by a BA (Hons) Bookbinding from Roehampton University. She is a partner of Benchmark Bindery, set up in 2009 with Tracey Rowledge. She teaches at the City Lit and conducts many workshops across the UK and abroad. She is a founder member of the group: Tomorrow’s Past and is the author of Bookbinding: A step-by-step guide.

This workshop will held at the The Barony Centre, West Kilbride KA23 9AR and has a maximum number of 12 students.

Students what to bring lists:

Dominic, Millimeter Binding

Bone folders, various sizes, inc Teflon if you have one

Scalpel and blades, straight and curved

Metal mm ruler

Brockman or Scharf-fix paring machine* 

Paring knife and strop*

Small paring stone*

Finishing press*

Glue & paste brushes

Sandpaper various grits

Small weight

  • Bring if you have one. There will be plenty of spares in the bindery.

£30 materials fee

Lori, Everybody loves a box

selection of steel rulers – different lengths

scalpel with 10a blades

propelling pencil

bone folders /teflon; pointy one for scoring

spring dividers


books for boxing, a selection and some with a flat back  – nothing too large, try and stick to A5 or smaller, thickness not important

£ 10 materials fee.

Arthur, In boards binding 

Just checking with Arthur …

£30 materials fee

Peter, Sharpen-up!

Please bring your sharpening kit (oilstones, diamond stones, strops, whatever) and your tools to sharpen (planes, spokeshaves, paring knives, chisels). To check your success you also need items to work on (backing boards, gilding boards, book boards, leather for paring) plus workmate, bench hook and paring surface as appropriate, if you have them.

No materials fee 

Kate, Decorative techniques, edges and boards

All materials and tools will be supplied. Just bring your imagination. And a book with edges if you wish though not necessary.

£10 materials fee.

Kathy, Endpapers

  • Scalpel with lots of 10A blades 
  • Pencil (a mechanical/propelling pencil is best)
  • 300mm (12″) steel rule 
  • A set square
  • A fine, pointed bonefolder 
  • A teflon folder
  • A pair of small dividers
  • A largish clean and soft paste brush
  • A pair of tweezers
  • A small, flat, hog’s hair brush (approx. 1cm wide)
  • A pack of razor blades (as best quality that you can get)
  • A cotton apron
  • Two (or more) clean wooden pressing boards A4/A5 in size.
  • Clean blotting paper (lots) A4/A5 in size.
  • 2 barrier sheets (0.25/0.5mm thick styrene sheets or acetate or equivalent.
  • As heavy a weight as you can carry (ideally 7–10lbs) or a knocking down iron.

And in addition, if you have any of the following:

A Brockman paring machine and a G clamp/a Scharfix paring machine.

£15 materials fee.



To book a place on any of the workshops please visit

For any queries or further information regarding the workshops, contact