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Sydney Bookbinding

Welcome to my Bookbinding Blog

The making of books, the teaching of bookbinding and the association with other bookbinders and book artists has become the focus and passion of my life. Bookbinding has many aspects and we debate a lot about the precise definitions of various aspects but, working with our hands within this discipline, challenging our skills and creativity is intriguing, frustrating and exciting.
Sydney Bookbinding
Sydney Bookbinding

Simple binding but interesting project

Oriental stitching for hard cover

A very interesting project has come up my stairs. A series of books made for presentation for funding a proposed television show about the Snowy Mountain Scheme.

The essence of the story revolves around one person – a German doctor. It explores the relationships that develop around this character but also tell of the unique community that worked on this huge project. Many refugees from war torn Europe, former enemies having to work  together, eat and live together. Lots of tension but lots of healing.

A great story and the book is beautifully photographed to give a real feel as to how this television series is envisaged.

Hope the project gets the necessary funding. A great theme and a great project.

The binding will be a simple Oriental side stitch with a rough, canvas cover.

Because I have an art background I really love custom binding work where I need to design and create not only the binding style but the unique cover design.

Posted in Custom Bookbinding |
Sydney Bookbinding

Limp Vellum binding – in cloth and card


Had a very interesting series of lessons with my students creating a Limp Vellum Binding. We created a vellum looking cover using cloth and card. I had some white leather, soft and easy to use, for the thonging.

We followed mostly the detailed instructions taken from Jan Lindsay’s coverage of this binding style.

We were pleased with the results. A bit exacting in the punching and trimming pattern but well worth persisting.

Here is one example finished – more students to finish their books.



Posted in Custom Bookbinding |
Sydney Bookbinding

Custom ‘clam shell’ boxes


A challenging commission just completed. A very important stamp collection, collected over several generations, and on quite large format sheets, needed to be securely housed in 3 boxes. Boxes were to be the same size.

I must admit it was great exercise making such large boxes – they were just under A2 in size so getting the boards cut and the final alignment of the shells was difficult.

Box making is a great way to house precious items and I like making them. This large size however is challenging but, thankfully I, t has turned out very satisfactorily.

Posted in Custom Bookbinding |
Sydney Bookbinding

Mixing paste

As I have had to withdraw the Starch Paste. This latest batch proved to be unstable over a few weeks – simply went to water consistency. I am hoping the manufacturer can rectify the problem but, in the mean time, here is the recipes we were given at the our Book Restoration lectures.

Preparation of starch paste. –

Generally the proportion is one part starch to five parts distilled or deionized water

  •  Soak 30g of starch in 150mls of water for thirty minutes
  • Cook in a double boiler saucepan, (glass or stainless steel) stirring constantly until the paste turns translucent.
  • Cover with a damp cloth and allow to cool.
  • Strain through a non metallic strainer into a clean jar.
  • Cover with boiled water and store in the fridge.

Microwave paste -

  • Soak 30g of wheat starch in 150mls of water in a deep microwave bowl for thirty minutes.
  • Microwave on high for 1 minute, remove the paste and stir.
  • Return and microwave for 3 minutes. Remove and stir every minute or so.
  • Repeat the process until the paste is cooked. Stir frequently.
  • Cover with a damp cloth and allow to cool.
  • Strain through a non metallic strainer into a clean jar.
  • Cover with boiled water and store in the fridge.

I was also advised that it is best if you can find gluten free flour.

I hope this helps and, even more, I hope we have a good substitute starch paste as most of us want to spend our time binding and not cooking paste – also it does not last long – 3 to 5 days perhaps. The smell will tell you.

Another trick is to add a few drops only of something like Dettol to help it last longer.

Stir before using and add a little more water if required.



Posted in Bookbinding Supplies |
Sydney Bookbinding

New colour in Chelsea cloth range


Here are 3 more images to our slowly growing list of images. Firstly Mull which we sell in metre, half metre and quarter metre. Then sewing cotton tapes, very strong weave. They come in 10mm and 13mm widths. Finally the calico, a dressed cotton that is used for spine linings, spine strengthening, laminating thin material to in order to create a strong book cloth plus other uses. Great to paint with acrylics to create book cloth with your imagery. As with the mull it is available in metre, half metre and quarter metre lengths


I do not have an image yet but there is now available a rather nice grey in the Chelsea range.

I have ordered it but will not be in for about a week. It is fairly light but a good mid grey tone – neither cool or warm.

One of the other colours has become discontinued. That is the Ochre but I still have stock of this colour.

An important addition to be added to our price list is a plain Kozo paper which has many uses in repair and restoration work. It will have an ordering code of PKozo. Size of sheet is 62x85cm and sells for $9.00 per sheet. I think it is 100gsm so quite robust.

Remember, if you require a current price list then simply email me and I can send one as an attachment (rosemarie@sydneybookbinding.com).

Posted in Bookbinding Supplies |
Sydney Bookbinding