Bookbinding lessons learned the hard way

  1. Don’t skimp on glue.
  2. Don’t use too much glue.
  3. Don’t refill your glue container near something of value.
  4. Don’t carry a loaded glue brush over something of value.
  5. There are no winners in the game of Where did I leave my glue brush?
  6. Don’t glue after 11:00 p.m.
  7. Wear an apron when gluing black kangaroo leather.
  8. Don’t try to learn a new bookbinding technique on a piece that you’ve promised to a show.
  9. Don’t try to learn a new bookbinding technique using really expensive materials.
  10. Don’t work bookcloth with your bone folder when you’re in a bad mood.
  11. Measure twice thrice a whole bunch of times, cut once.
  12. Don’t cut bookboard by hand for more than an hour.
  13. When your arm starts tingling or feels numb, it’s time to stop.
  14. When you have blisters on your hands, it’s time to stop.
  15. Stop being stubborn and get the tool that will save your hands and increase your productivity – it will pay for itself over time.
  16. Check your materials stash before you commit to a custom order.
  17. Check your date book before you commit to a custom order.
  18. The amount of time you’ve put aside for that really important project – double it.
  19. If you really like a piece you’ve made, keep it for yourself.
  20. There’s no such thing as taking too many classes.

6 Responses to “Bookbinding lessons learned the hard way”

By Bob Searle - 30 September 2008 Reply

Keep up with item no. 20.

By coco8199 - 30 September 2008 Reply

Excellent list! Many of which I have done.

By elissa - 30 September 2008 Reply

I was thinking about all of the things that make me say, “oh crap!” and I realized I had an interesting list going.

Feel free to add any other things you can think of.

🙂 Elissa

By elissa - 30 September 2008 Reply

Bob –

You know I’m still looking for that elusive job where someone pays me to take classes 40 hours a week…


By Seth - 1 October 2008 Reply

Great post. It had me smiling and relating to quite a few of the 20 listed!

By elissa - 2 October 2008 Reply

Seth –

I came up with another one yesterday: Stop being stubborn and lazy and go wash your hands.

I think I’m going to have a part 2 to this list soon enough.


So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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