An Introduction to Leather Course

Following bookbinding level 1 I signed up for a course on leather. This was a two-day course and gave a basic introduction to leather and paring. The course is a prep course for bookbinding level 3, which works with leather when making cases for the text blocks (rather than cloth). At the end of the two days we only produced a plaquette, with a fore edge strip in leather, and leather corners.

Here are a few pictures from the weekend!

Dan started by giving a lecture on leather, and a demonstration on how to pare. Above he is showing us how to pare, using an English knife. There were three types of knives we can use, as seen in the second picture. I’ll be sure to write a post at a later date about paring knives as well as leather!

Below are a few pictures from the lesson:

We learned how to tell the differences between various leathers – sheep, goat, calf and pig. Which is something I always wanted to be able to do! Serious! I can now, somewhat confidently, pick up a leather book and be like – yeah, this is goat.

Dan also showed us how to use a paring machine – which was nice once our hands started to ache, or when we couldn’t get it thin enough! And I got myself an entire skin of goat – to practice on, and to use in bookbinding level 3.

On day two we got to work paring our leather for our plaquettes – day one was spent just practicing. Above are my pared pieces and then we put them on the boards. We were taught how to pleat the corners to keep the leather from bunching up and becoming just a big blob.

Once the leather was on we let it dry for a bit and then we put the paper on as we might on the cloth covers we made in level 1. And here is my final project (front & back)!

It’s simple a plaquette, used to teach us proper techniques when working with leather! Paring leather sure took a lot of practice and will continue to take even more!

Look out for another post soon,



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