iBB Podcast #1. Ben Elbel from Elbel Libro. Part 2 – Tutorials, New Book Structures and Q&A

In this chapter, Ben and I discuss the new structures introduced through his project Bookbinding Out of the Box, his upcoming tutorials, and reply several questions from the community.

Our next guest is Eliane Gomes, a Brazilian/Dutch book restorer and bookbinder from Haarlem, Netherlands. I already had several collaborations with her and posted a studio tour on iBookBinding.com.

We plan to talk about her past and current projects, important aspects of book restoration, and there will be a workshop tour as well.

If you’d like to ask Eliane some questions, just reply to this email. There will be a giveaway, and this time I’m offering a set of magnetic corner clamps for boxmaking. The person who asks a question that Eliane will like the most will get that set (worldwide shipping covered.)

You can watch the video on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/iBookBinding. Or listen to the podcast on:

Hopefully, it will soon be available through Google Podcasts as well.

You will find the timestamps lower in this post.



I hope you liked the first part of the podcast with Ben Elbel. If you have any advice, comments, critique, or would like to nominate a future guest (or be a guest), please don’t hesitate to send me a message!

Currently, I’m editing the second episode where my guest was Todd Davis, the owner of the Middlesex Bindery. Hopefully, this episode will be ready by Monday.

Oh, and there will be another live stream on iBookBinding’s Instagram this Tuesday. I plan to make a follow up to my discussion with Ben of some techniques of edge trimming that do not need expensive and bulky equipment.

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Follow Ben’s projects:
Elbel Libro – https://www.elbel-libro.com/
Bookbinding Out of the Box – https://bookbindingoutofthebox.com/

Tutorials and Innovative Book Structures

00:08 – Building Bookbinding Out of the Box as a platform for innovative bookbinding for other bookbinders as well
00:48 – Ben’s interest in bookbinding structures and innovation
01:07 – On bookbinding being presented by mass media as a medieval craft
02:25 – Moving to Ben’s inventions: Pianel binding
03:06 – Question from Sylvie Camia about the Pianel binding tutorial
03:56 – The process of selecting photos for tutorials: they should tell the story on their own even without a text
06:27 – Difficulty of different Ben’s tutorials
07:20 – Pianel and piano hinge binding in general
09:43 – Book Arts Fair in Leiden, Netherlands (Boekkunstbeurs,) and Bookbinding Fair in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, this November


10:45 – Question from Karim Shehimi about the Pixel binding structure
13:35 – Question from Hillel about case binding perfect-bound books
14:21 – One of Stepan’s first projects: 7 volumes of Harry Potter bound in green leather
18:46 – Double-fan adhesive binding: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=double+fan+adhesive+binding
20:00 – Backing a book block made of single leaves
21:00 – Question from Alan Crawford about finding texts that line the spines of old books
23:47 – How the relationship between materials and labor changed over centuries
27:07 – Question from Lydia Smith about cheap tools and materials for beginner bookbinders
27:45 – One of the first Ben’s leather-bound journals and using jackets and other clothes from thrift stores for bookbinding projects
30:38 – Buying tools on flea markets and making your own cheap tools
33:52 – Being creative when you work without proper tools
35:10 – Using unconventional weights instead of presses: bricks, irons, etc.
38:28 – Question from Lydia Smith about glue for endpapers
39:00 – Using rollers for PVA
40:15 – Dilluting PVA and paste depending on humidity and elevation
41:14 – Question from Helen Wells about using decorative paper for covering books
46:50 – Returning to the question of making books on a low budget – using second-hand cloth

Things from Ben Elbel’s Shop

Presspahn: https://bookbindingoutofthebox.com/collections/products/products/presspan
Own tutorials: https://bookbindingoutofthebox.com/collections/bookbinding-tutorials
Crisscross binding book: https://bookbindingoutofthebox.com/collections/books-from-others/products/book-crisscross-binding-anne-goy
Edgard Claes’s piano hinge binding: https://bookbindingoutofthebox.com/collections/books-from-others/products/book-neue-bucheinbandtechnik-scharnierband-in-pergament-edgard-claes

Links and mentions

Erik Kwakkel – X-RAYS EXPOSE A HIDDEN MEDIEVAL LIBRARY: https://medievalbooks.nl/2015/12/18/x-rays-expose-a-hidden-medieval-library/
Paperbacking silk for binding books by Sage Reynolds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6SgeLid-rg
Ben’s video we discussed at the end of the podcast: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-UyBuipgI2/

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