Medieval Book Binding

Only one thing is missing—the text.


Thanks for this.

Did you notice: when he was tooling the leather, even on the front and back, he seemed to be doing it completely by eye. He may have used a guide or a pattern for those two rectangles, one within the other, but if so, it was not apparent in the video.

He sure seemed to be “in the zone.”


It would have been enlightening to have included an elapsed time clock as the work proceeded. I would imagine several days to nearly a week. As to time and effort, imagine such a book with illuminated manuscript! I would thing that might well require a full year or more - especially without the precise modern tools used in the creation. It is a sort of microcosm of building a cathedral back then.

And, somehow after viewing this, reading an ebook will never be quite the same.


The description on YouTube says that the elapsed time in making the book was 60 hours. I don’t know whether that includes the time for pressing components, waiting for glue to dry, etc. or just time working on the book.

The maker of the video has made a five-part detailed series on the making of this book, each part around a half hour.

Part 1: Folding Pages, Endpapers, Piercing, and Sewing

Part 2: Trimming and Rounding, Edge Decoration, Sewing Endbands

Part 3: Wooden Boards, Carving and Mortising, Attaching the Covers

Part 4: Paring and Applying Leather

Part 5: Leather Tooling - Brass Hardware - Final Assembly

Here is a video on making the brass “furniture” for the binding.


This turned out to be far more fascinating than I imagined before watching. Given that, like most everyone, time and attention have become precious resources, I suspect I have missed some interesting things which I have skipped over - based on nothing more than title or superficial presentation. Thanks.


Here is a two-part tutorial series on a much simpler (and less expensive) leather binding process, achieving an appearance similar to Easton Press and Castalia Library books: