Category: Bookbinding tools


1. Knocking-down stick: This tool was given to me at one (I forget which) of the binderies I worked at in London in the noughties. It’s a worthless but very useful tool, which appears to have been roughly fashioned from an off-cut. It has some patina so has some age but would be hard to date.

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Victorian bookbinders’ plough

I just bought this beautiful antique plough. Sadly I don’t have any information about it’s provenance; however, it’s almost identical to the one featured in Zaehnsdorf’s ‘The Art of Bookbinding’, it even has the same teardrop shaped brass plate under the wing-nut. The blade of the plough has an  ‘N. J. Hill London’ makers-mark engraved

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Some thoughts on English paring knives

Over the last few years I have spent many, many hours researching bookbinding knives: I have looked at the wide variety of styles available and their historical usage; I have made my own blades which are suitable for book conservation; and I have also learnt how to sharpen them efficiently and taught others how to

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Trindles: trimming edges in-boards.

Bookbinders were initially slow to adapt to the changes brought on by the adoption of printing in Europe; however, by the end of the 15th century parchment had given way to paper leaves and towards the middle of the 16th century English binders had made the transition from wood to paper-based boards. The introduction of the plough

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Freedom of The Press: The Renaissance of a French Laying Press

(Guest Blog By Jim Oliver   As a young boy I was always taking things apart so I could find out how they worked and sometimes I even managed to put them back together again. Years later, as a carpenter/joiner and furniture maker, I am still curious how things are put together, and a

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Watt Press

  In 2011, I worked on a project at the Bodleian Library to conserve the Abinger collection: correspondence and papers of three generations of the Godwin and Shelley families that were given to the Library in 2004. Within this collection are 189 wet-transfer copies taken from the correspondence of novelist and political philosopher William Godwin.

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