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Tooling for Beginners

Tutor: Dieter Räder
Dates: 15 - 16 May 2021
Times: 10.00am - 5.00pm
Venue: Dragon Press Bindery, Highworth, Swindon SN6 7PP
Fee: GBP185.00 (plus materials payable on the day)
Booking opens 1st October 2020

This workshop will teach participants the fundamental techniques of hand tooling on leather. Suitable for those with no experience, it also offers a thorough refresher course for anyone wanting to gain confidence in their finishing.

Starting with practice boards and dummy bookblocks, we will go step-by-step through the stages of preparation, blind tooling and tooling with gold leaf, including design ideas and tips. The use of foils and various alternative materials will also be touched upon. While focusing on working with hand tools, type holders will be briefly introduced if wished.

Participants are welcome to bring along any binding projects requiring tooling for discussion and advice.

There will be a materials fee per student of £25 payable on the day. This includes leather-covered practice panels and a dummy bookblock as well as gold, etc.


Dieter Räder was apprentice-trained in Germany. Following employment in Marseilles and Vienna, he moved to London in 1983 and spent two years working under the guidance of Robert Green. He then ran his own bindery in Somerset for some 20 years before establishing and managing the new fine binding and restoration department of a West London commercial bindery.

In 2017, Dieter opened Dragon Press Bindery in Wiltshire, where he specialises in the restoration of antiquarian books and fine binding commissions, as well as teaching. Dieter's clients range from private collectors, booksellers and film producers (for props) to university libraries, national collections and museums.

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