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Medieval Limp-Vellum Bookbinding

Limp Vellum Bookbinding
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with Nicky Yeager

Saturday, 10am - 4pm
Sunday, 10am - 4pm

Materials Fee: $75 to be paid to instructor

This class is designed to combine the history of making books with the craft of making a medieval book used by students, family historians and artists. It is a soft-cover book but is quite strong and resilient while being light enough to carry.

Students will be presented with an initial lecture about the progression of bookbinding and why a structure such as a limp-vellum binding would be used instead of a wooden-board book.

Time will be spent folding signatures, pre-punching them, sewing onto cords, sewing headbands and making the limp vellum cover before lacing it on and adhering the endsheets.

Throughout the class, information about materials, techniques and use will be discussed.


Fold paper into 7 signatures
Make 2 hooked endleaf bifolia and wrap around first and last signature
Punch holes for sewing
Cut 3 alum-tawed thongs @ 4.5", slit 1/2”  in center, then twist for double thong sewing supports
Tape thongs to edge of workbench, for sewing (in lieu of a sewing frame)
Sew textblock
Glue up textblock in book press (2 c-clamps and pine boards)
Cut cloth for spine liner
Prep for sewing end bands
Take measurements for cutting vellum and spine liner
Punch holes in spine liner
Paste up spine liner
Cut vellum
Fold turn-ins on vellum
Sew endbands
Lace textblock into vellum wrapper
Paste down end sheets


Barrios, P. (2006). Notes on the limp vellum binding. The Bonefolder 2(2), 24-27.

Clarkson, C. (2005). Limp Vellum Binding. Oxford: Christopher Clarkson. Buy the Clarkson book here:

Espinosa, R. (1993). The limp vellum binding: A modification. The New Bookbinder, 13, 27-38.

Greenfield, J. & Hille, J. (1990). Headbands: How to work them. New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Books.

Henry Hébert - Limp vellum blog:

Lindsay, J. (1991). A limp vellum binding sewn on alumn-tawed thongs. The New Bookbinder, 11, 3-19.

Pickwoad, N. (1995). The interpretation of bookbinding structure: An examination of sixteenth-century bindings in the Ramney collection in the Pierpont Morgan Library. The Library, Sixth Series, 17, 209-249.

Rhein, A. (1942). Alte heftungen in pergamentumschlange. Zu einem katalog “Die Wiegendruckeinbande der Stadtbucherie Erfurt”. Archiv fur Buchbinderei, 42, 11-13.

Szirmai, J. A. (2000). The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding. Aldershot : Ashgate.

An online exhibition that is now only available at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine:

Don't forget to read over our Registration Policies!

Earlier Event: September 29
Eco-Dye Paper
Later Event: October 14
First Annual Fundraiser