Custom Leather Bookbinding by M. Engeltjes
Over 900 examples may be viewed at:
Utilizing ancient Cord Sewn Bookbinding techniques, I create a synthesis of traditional bookbinding with contemporary compositions. Fabricated metal conpositions intertwine with stained glass, handcarved carved & embossed lettering & designs, and diesel truck engine parts (an influence from my father).
The binding process includes folding acid-free papers in half, stacking them into ‘signatures’, and then hand sewing each signature around leather cords with a needle and thread. The spine is clamped, brushed with archival permanently flexible glue, and immediately hammered to round and tighten it. The leather binding cords are affixed to cover boards, while in conjunction, two layers of 55 pound tensile-strength fabric reinforce the cover hinges for added structural integrity to ensure heirloom quality. Handstitched headbands consist of dual color threads wrapped around leather cords and sewn directly onto the spine ends for protection, strength & decor. I finish the outer edges of the bound paper by ripping each page individually to create a sculpted deckled organic shape. Or to achieve angled smooth edges, the book is squeezed askew and placed in a clamp. I then trim it, one page at a time, with a razor blade for a controlled crisp lineal edge or angled shape. 3-Dimensional cover designs are hand sculpted from Binders Board, 1 to 12 layers thick, using razor blades, and then embossed under the leather. A press is not used to achieve the wrapped three-dimensional forms. Rather, glue is applied just one inch at a time while the leather is handworked into each crevice with small tools until dry. This covering process requires selecting a precise starting point, and directional course, for the leather to smoothly cover.
I also fabricate metal designs utilizing fine jewelry tools. These metal elements are wired through the cover for secure attachment. Copper pieces are given a natural patina by applying lemon juice, salt, & vinegar to achieve various finishes. Book covers consist of multiple layers of Binders Board to create deep three-dimensional qualities and to build the internal structures needed to frame and secure leaded stained glass windows. All glass elements are individually cut & soldered. I enjoy handmaking paper, which is applied to the interior of the covers as endsheets - the final step which completes the binding process. I am the sole creator of each one-of-a-kind book. I do not have any employees or assistants.
CUSTOM REQUESTS are welcome. A special one-of-a-kind book can be bound specifically for you as a Personal JOURNAL, SCRAPBOOK, WEDDING ALBUM, GUESTBOOK, PORTFOLIO, or ADDRESS BOOK. Custom Leather and Copper BIBLE COVERS are available, as well as BINDING OF PRINTED MATERIALS. Lidded or Clamshell leather BOXES can hold your treasures or will present your skills as a professional PORTFOLIO. REFILLABLE MULTI-RING or SCREWPOST BINDINGS will allow ongoing use as a Presentation Book, Portfolio, Scrapbook, or Sketchbook. Leather NECKLACE BOOKS encourage on-the-go notes.
Over 900 photos may be viewed at WWW.LEATHERBOOKS.INFO