Volume 29 - Spring 2010


Product & Company News

Retractaway Scalpel Handle

The Retractaway is a versatile metal cutting tool produced with designers, graphic artists and model makers in mind. It has an easy blade change facility and safely retracts our No.10 and 10A surgical blades

Cost £7.36 each

The new Retractaway Handle may be purchased from our online shop.

(subject to shipping charges and VAT where applicable)

Teflon Burnishing and Moulding Tool

This Teflon burnishing tool measures 15cm (6") long and 7mm (1/4") in diameter. It has one round end and one pointed end. It is an ideal tool for moulding leather and for use with papers which could be damaged with standard bone folders. The tool is non-stick and therefore very easy to clean

Cost £7.00 each

The new Teflon Tool may be purchased from our online shop.

(subject to shipping charges and VAT where applicable)

Album Blocks now available in Black

We have received many requests are very pleased to advise that our popular range of Album Blocks is now available with Black pages. Here are the details:

  • Classic 1 - 230mm x 300mm (approx. 9" x 12") - Portrait - 30 leaves per block @ £9.80 each
  • Classic 2 - 320mm x 310mm (approx. 12.50" x 12.25") - Landscape - 40 leaves per block @ £15.80 each
  • Classic 3 - 350mm x 350mm (approx. 13.75" x 13.75") - 50 leaves per block @ £20.79 each
  • Classic 4 - 420mm x 350mm (approx. 16.50" x 13.75") - Landscape - 50 leaves per block @ £25.99 each
  • Classic Mini - 205mm x 150mm (approx. 8" x 6") - Landscape - 30 leaves per block @ £7.27 each
  • Studio 80 - 230mm x 225mm (approx. 9" x 8.75") - Landscape - 40 leaves per block @ £10.49 each

The new Albums may be purchased from our online shop.

(subject to shipping charges and VAT where applicable)

Fine Bookbinding - A Technical Guide

By Jen Lindsay

Published by The British Library and Oak Knoll Press

Fine Bookbinding - A Technical Guide is a unique bookbinding manual that guides you through each stage of making a book bound in leather; a 'fine' binding. It is designed to be used as you work and explanations of the process are followed by instructions with photographs or diagrams of how to do it.

About the Author - Jen Lindsay has taught bookbinding and lectured on the history of books at Roehampton Institute, West London and the City Literary Institute, Covent Garden, London. She was previously editor of The New Bookbinder

Paperback, 208 pages, 250 x 240mm, 274 Illustrations

Only £35.00

This new book may be purchased from our online shop.

Professional Electric finishing Stove

The P&S professional finishing stove is made from hardwearing stainless steel with three aluminium supports for the cast aluminium castellated ring. The unit is a thermostatically controlled catering stove which is very hardwearing and is designed for continuous use over long periods.


  • Single boiling ring with cast iron solid element and stainless steel body
  • Aluminium Tool Support Ring
  • Voltage - 230v AC - 50Hz
  • Power consumption - 1500W
  • Thermostatically controlled
  • Safety cut-out

Cost £268.50 each

The new Stove may be purchased from our online shop.

(subject to shipping charges and VAT where applicable)

Designer Bookbinder Competition 2009

The annual Designer Bookbinder Competition was judged at the end of October and the award ceremony was held on the 5th December at the John Rylands University Library in Manchester.

We are very pleased to announce that the 2009 J. Hewit & Son prize for 'The Interesting Treatment of Leather' was awarded to Jeanette Koch for her binding of 'Urban Birds'. Our warmest congratulations go to Jeanette for this very well deserved prize.

Urban Birds
Published by Incline Press, Oldham 1999
A collection of cuts by Jo Spaul, with accompanying poems from an English anthology of poetry through the ages

Over two years ago I bought a black ostrich skin which sat in my drawer in the bindery waiting for the right book. Last year I wanted the chance to have fun with a speculative binding. I laid my hands on Urban Birds, grabbed the ostrich skin and saw how lovely its natural edge was. Loath to cut it, I decided to top and tail the binding using the edge to effect over a natural goatskin, leaving the horny textured area to lie loosely over the spine. Jo Spaul's cuts are stark and often framed with a strong dark blue or black line, which the ostrich skin's intense black complements well. I had planned to leave the middle section of multi-coloured leather underlays as a continuous area on each boards, but a moment of interruption when I was just about to cut out my headcap leather pieces caused my concentration to fail, and I cut into the wrong bit of my precious and very small natural goatskin remnant! I then revised my design and split up the multi-coloured underlay areas, which in the end worked much better. The title is tooled in blind on the front board alongside tooled bird's feet traces on both boards. The top edge is coloured with gouache, and the endbands are made of multi-coloured leather onlay bits. Brown paper doublures are followed by flyleaves decorated with coloured Japanese Mingei paper strips sandwiched in between speckled-egg textured paper. Anyone looking at this binding will query the term'Urban Birds', as ostrich, unless farmed locally, is dubious and my underlays smack of the tropics rather than London despite the parakeets in the park. But with global warming who knows!

Bookbinding - A Step-by-Step Guide

By Kathy Abbott

Published by The Crowood Press

We are very pleased to bring you this eagerly awaited manual on bookbinding. We believe that'Bookbinding - A Step-by-Step Guide' will become one of the definitive instruction manuals to the craft.

The craft of bookbinding has a long history steeped in beauty and tradition. It has developed through the ages and is now enjoying a period of renewed popularity and creativity. Whether you are a beginner or an established bookbinder wishing to refresh your memory, this practical book introduces the techniques with step-by-step instructions and photographs. Written by distinguished bookbinder and teacher, Kathy Abbott, it explains how to transform a few sheets of paper and some thread into a book to be proud of. For the more experienced, Kathy also covers how to work with leather to create classic, professional bindings.

Topics include:

  • Single-section bindings - paperback and hardback
  • Multi-section bindings - full cloth case, photograph album, quarter leather binding with paper or cloth-covered sides, and wrap-around structure
  • Containers; phase box, slipcase and portfolio case

Hardback, 160 pages, 270mm x 221mm, 300 photographs

Cost £19.95 each

The new book may be purchased from our online shop.

(subject to shipping charges)

Superior Archival Millboard

This new Superior Archival Millboard is manufactured exclusively from pulp sourced from recycled archival paper. This excellent millboard is pale green in shade and available with a sheet size of 780mm x 1280mm (long grain).

Specifications: 100% Recycled Archival Paper and Board Waste - 100% Chemically Purified Wood Free Fibre - pH 7 - 7.5 - Acid Free - Lignin Free - 0.B.A Free - Light Fast

Available in:
1.10mm - *15 sheets per 15kg bundle - £4.68 per sheet/£42.94 per bundle
1.50mm - *10 sheets per 15kg bundle - £7.05 per sheet/£42.94 per bundle
1.90mm - *7 sheets per 15kg bundle - £9.12 per sheet/£42.94 per bundle
2.30mm - *6 sheets per 15kg bundle - £10.98 per sheet/£42.94 per bundle
3.00mm - *5 sheets per 15kg bundle - £13.74 per sheet/£42.94 per bundle

*approximate number of sheets per bundle

Quantity discounts are available

The Superior Archival Millboard may be purchased from our online shop.

(subject to shipping charges and VAT where applicable)

Archival Papers

New for J.Hewit & Sons, three archival papers for bookbinding and conservation.

Hahnemühle Ingres

Hahnemühle is a 95gsm Mould-made slightly textured laid paper. It is woodfree and acid free and has four deckle edges. It is available in a range of 8 colours and the sheet size is 62.5 x 48cm (short grain).

Singles - £0.90/sheet
25 to 99 sheets - £0.54/sheet
100 to 499 sheets - £0.48/sheet
500 to 999 sheets £0.42/sheet
1000+ sheets £0.36/sheet

Heritage Archival Paper

A versatile acid free paper which is used by bookbinders, conservators, artists, and fine printers. Tub sizing provides Heritage Woodfree with good fold and surface strength, necessary for quality printing and publishing. 120gsm. Sheet size 840 x 600mm (short grain).

Specifications: Refined alpha-cellulose fibre - Acid free (pH 8.5) - Lightfast (Blue Wool test: 5) - Free from optical brightening agents enclosures - Internally sized: Alkyl Ketene Dimer Tub sized with pure non-ionic farina starch - Colours: White or Ivory

Singles - £0.88/sheet
25 to 49 sheets - £0.70/sheet
50 to 99 sheets - £0.61/sheet
100 to 499 sheets - £0.53/sheet
500 sheets - £0.49/sheet

Timecare Age Compatible Paper

Timecare Age Compatible Toned Laid was designed initially for repair of antique books and papers but the compatibility of the colour and the surface sizing makes it ideal for bookbinding and for printing facsimiles of early volumes. 110gsm. Sheet size 838mm x 571mm (short grain)

Specifications: 100% Cotton - 2% Buffered - Gelatine sized - pH 7.5 - Laid chain lines run parallel to short edge.

for 1-24 sheets - £2.13 each
for 25-49 sheets - £1.70 each
for 50-99 sheets - £1.49 each
for 100-499 sheets - £1.28 each
for 500+ sheets - £1.19 each

These new papers may be purchased from our online shop.

(subject to shipping charges and VAT where applicable)

Another two DVD's from the Society of Bookbinders

Repairing Leather Bindings with Japanese Paper

Multi Regional, PAL, 4:3 format

By Dominic Riley

A Video record of Dominic Riley's demonstration at the Society of Bookbinders Seminar in Birmingham, 2002

- Includes step-by-step tutorials
- Over 87 minutes of video

When leather bindings break at the joint, the traditional approach is to reback the binding with leather, re-hanging the boards and relining the spine. However, there are times when this is not feasible.

In recent years, conservator Don Etherington and other have pioneered simple, non-invasive repairs using Japanese tissue. This demonstration by Dominic, covers these techniques.

Also includes a slide show of the prize winning bindings from the Society of Bookbinder International Bookbinding Competition 2005


Rebacking a Cloth Binding

Multi Regional, PAL, 4:3 format

By Nick Cowlishaw

- Includes step-by-step demonstrations
- Over 110 minutes of video
- Many invaluable binding tips

One of the most common problems with Victorian cloth bindings is damage to the spine and joints, leading to detaching of the boards.

This demonstration, by one of the UK's foremost binding teachers, will guide you through the procedures necessary to assess and repair such damage with the minimum cosmetic impact on the binding.

Also included is a slide show of the prize winning bindings from the Society of Bookbinders International Bookbinding competition 1999, 2001 and 2003.


Cost £16.00 each

Both of these DVDs may be purchased from our online shop.

Digital Thickness Gauge

This tool allows for simple, quick and accurate thickness measurements.

The Gauge:
- is ideal for measuring leather, paper, board, etc.
- has a 0-12mm measuring range
- has an easy to read 8mm LCD screen
- has metric and imperial measurements
- is manufactured using a durable carbon fibre composite construction
- uses 1 x SR44 battery

Cost £17.02 each

The gauge may be purchased from our online shop.

(subject to shipping charges and VAT where applicable)

Vegetable Tanned Hide Sides

We have a few Vegetable Tanned Tooling Hide Sides for sale. They have an attractive, bold natural grain and are suitable for heavy leather goods, belting or similar uses.

Average Skin Size: 1.86 - 2.32m² (20 - 25ft²)
Approx. Cut Size: 1.55 x 70cm
Standard Substance: 4.0 - 5.0mm
Grades: Run Selection (Equivalent to grade II)
Cost £80.00 per skin.

This leather may be purchased from our online shop.

(subject to shipping charges and VAT where applicable)


We are pleased to bring you the first of many downloadable, well written and easy to follow e-tutorials.

How to Sew the Secret Belgian Binding
This detailed tutorial shows how to sew this beautiful'lie-flat' historical binding, an excellent choice for an artist's sketchbook or journal. - £6.00

How to Make the Folded Fan Origami Book with Soft Cover
A straightforward tutorial giving step by step instructions for making this wonderful folded book, inspired by Hedi Kyle. - £5.40

How to Make a Leather Journal with Keith Smith's Coil Spring Sewing
This inspirational tutorial demystifies working with leather, giving detailed instructions, templates and patterns for a very smart journal. - £6.00

How to Make the Teeny-Tiny Peek-a-Boo Book Pendant
A lovely way to combine bookbinding and jewellery skills, this tutorial shows how to make a very tiny but real book with several methods of attaching it to a necklace chain. - £6.90

These new E-Tutorials may be purchased from our online shop.

(subject to VAT where applicable)

Backus Bookcloth Cleaner

We bring you this widely used, well-established and popular product for cleaning and reinvigorating cloth bound books.

It is very easy to use. Apply with a soft cotton cloth, lightly rubbing in all directions until the surface is evenly revived. Finish with a clean soft cloth or a short-haired soft brush, rubbing in the direction of the weave of the fabric cover.

£18.00 per 500ml tin

The cleaner may be purchased from our online shop.

(subject to shipping charges and VAT)

Important Information

We regret that due to its chemical nature, this product can only be shipped within the United Kingdom.

The Society of Bookbinders Journal 2009 - Volume 23



Only £18.00

This new journal may be purchased from our online shop.





(subject to shipping charges where applicable)


Skin Deep - Volume 29 - Spring 2010

Download Skin Deep - Volume 29 in PDF Format