Soviet Bookbinder’s Heirloom

Several days ago I was approached by a woman, whose grandfather was an amateur bookbinder in Soviet times. He left her some bookbinding stuff no one in the family is obviously is going to use. She didn’t even want to sell the stuff, just to pass it to someone, who could put it to good use.

All that stuff appeared to be a little treasure! I’m not sure, I’m going to use everything, but there are some really nice things I will at least put at my workshop for my students. Other things already have inspired me on changing some of the tools I produce.

First, there are hundreds of meters of old covering materials. I mean it. Twenty or even more rolls of calico, leatherette and stuff. Black (more than a half of the rolls), green, orange, red. I’m not sure I can ever use all these materials.

And the smell! When I first took one of the rolls, I had a feeling I was transferred to my grandfather’s library!

Next, there are several different presses. Two presses with four threads (one of them is built to trim book blocks). In addition, there are two lying presses. One seems to be the oldest one in the collection. Turning handles are made of none other than nails with leaden heads attached. The other is the one that inspired me to make some changes to the design of my own presses. It has C-clamps fixtures, which allow attaching the press to the table. I’ve already tried that and I love the idea!

Here is that press fixed on my working table:

And here is another press. I should write a separate post about it. It is really not even a press, but a combined bookbinder’s workstation. It includes a press, sewing frame, and trimming station. KAMAZ heavy truck factory has produced them in 1980s.


There also are some smaller instruments and other things, including very pretty 650-gram weights, really sharp handmade bookbinding knives and bookbinding thread.


As a bonus I’ve got some old newspapers — they were used as a packaging paper.

It seems I have already got all the holiday season presents I’ve needed this year!

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