AAB Fall

Fall courses 2023

Please note: All fall courses run from Thursday to Monday, with the exception of the Intro courses that run after Thanksgiving.


Gold Tooling

October 5-9  |  Don Glaister  |  $950


Perfectly executing gold tooling on the surface of leather bindings has been a goal (often elusive) of bookmakers for centuries. Done successfully, gold tooling is magic. Done unsuccessfully, gold tooling…isn’t. This five-day class will introduce students to fundamental techniques and practices that will enable them to successfully transform drawn designs on paper to sparkling gold designs on leather. Students will learn to prepare drawings, cut and handle gold leaf, and do blind and gold tooling. While work in class will be on designs with straight lines, the techniques learned will apply to designs with curved lines as well. No tooling experience is necessary to enroll in this class, though some experience with leather bookbinding is desirable.

Returning Student Registration New Student Registration


Intermediate/Advanced Fine Leather Binding

October 12-23  |  Don Glaister  |  $1850


This two-week class is designed to help students with varying experience levels in fine binding refine and review their techniques, develop more advanced and sophisticated ones and even invent new techniques. Emphasis will also be placed on binding design and design execution. Some more advanced techniques may be explored are elaborate woven headbands, edge gilding, gold, blind and painted tooling, inlays, and onlays of leather or other materials. Students will work independently on their projects, with close monitoring and guidance from the instructor. They will have an opportunity to explore various design concepts and decorative techniques, depending on their experience and expertise. Students are encouraged to use this class as an extensive fine-tuning of their forwarding techniques or to concentrate on a few or even one specific advanced technique.

Prerequisites: Fundamentals of Fine Leather Binding or equivalent experience in leather paring. This course may be repeated as needed or desired.

Returning Student Registration New Student Registration


Fundamentals of Half-Leather Binding

November 2-13  |  Peter Geraty  |  $1850

***FULL*** This course is provisionally full. New registrations will be added to the waiting list.


A half leather binding features leather on the spine and corners, with a cloth or marbled paper on the remaining area of the cover boards of the book. A standard of the 19th-century trade shops, the half leather binding was initially developed as a less expensive leather binding. This binding style utilizes all the craft needed for a full leather binding but doesn’t require a large clean area of the skin. Because students will be working with smaller pieces of leather, they will have a chance in this class to try different tools and techniques for paring. Working with an English or Swiss knife, spokeshave, and Schärfix are taught in this class. The books are sewn on raised cords, laced in, and endbanded. The finished product is a visually exciting book, still popular today, with a full leather binding strength. Students will come away from this class with a book ready to be dressed up in a Tooling class! This is the 3rd class of the four core courses that advance students’ skills toward becoming competent and knowledgeable bookbinders.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Bookbinding Level 2, or equivalent experience in basic leather paring.

Returning Student Registration New Student Registration


Edge Gilding

November 16-20  |  Peter Geraty  |  $950

The secret to good edge gilding is technique and practice… It isn’t as painful as you might think! In this class students will be guided to explore and accomplish several types of edge treatments including solid edge gilding, rough edge gilding and gilding in the rough (what’s the difference? come find out!), colored and decorated edges, gauffered edges and maybe even some foredge painting. Additional techniques will include multicolored edges with gold and/or palladium flakes, sponged, tooled and painted edges.

Over the course of the week students will have the opportunity to experiment with these techniques but emphasis will be placed on solid edge gilding as that is the most intimidating process, requiring repetition to achieve success and confidence. Students will leave this class with the knowledge to invent and configure their own style. No prior bookbinding skills are necessary although a knowledge of tools and materials is helpful.

Returning Student Registration New Student Registration


Introduction to Bookbinding – Level 1

November 27 – December 1  |  Lang Ingalls  |  $950

*  Please note: This class runs Monday – Friday


This class is for you if you have never taken a bookbinding class before. This is a one-week class devoted to the fundamental building blocks of bookbinding; it is an introduction to binding books into paper and cloth covers.

Starting at the very beginning, students will learn about paper grain, cutting and folding, gathering and sewing a signature, and producing a Pamphlet Binding. From there, they will expand to multi-signature sewing and Case Binding. An introduction to the essential tools of the trade will be covered. Students will learn techniques and habits to prepare them to progress to the next level. They will also have acquired the skills to practice and explore bookbinding at home. The marvels of paper, the details of sewing, the characteristics of an attractive book cover, and more are taught in this class.

This course is open to students with little or no prior bookbinding experience.

Returning Student Registration New Student Registration


Introduction to Bookbinding – Level 2

December 4-8  |  Lang Ingalls  |  $950

*  Please note: This class runs Monday – Friday

***FULL*** This course is provisionally full. New registrations will be added to the waiting list.

This course is for students who have taken Level 1 and are ready to develop further and explore materials. Students will work with a textblock, making the Millimeter Binding structure. The class will cover the importance of design, the process of bookblock preparation, the principles of a rounded spine, basic leatherwork, and hand-sewn endbands. There will be a review of board-cutting basics, book squares, and the use of adhesives. Introduction to the Schärfix paring machine and a review of best practices with tools will be covered. The elegance of leather, considerations of spine swell, design materiality, and harmony are taught in this class. This class is required for students ready to advance their skills and prepare for AAB’s Fundamentals of Half and Full-Leather Binding courses.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Bookbinding I or equivalent experience. This course may be repeated as needed or desired.

Returning Student Registration New Student Registration


Previous: Summer Courses 2023