I just started a Bookbinding Class at the Center for Book Arts. It's the first class in a series that the Organization offers where you get hands-on technical training on basic book making and bookbinding. While I've done some rudimentary book making on my own and in art classes over the years, I was super excited to take a professional class.
During our first week we learned a bunch of practical information. Grain direction and the various tests to check which way it's going, including a bounce test, scratch test, and a taste test. One of my favorite parts of the class was our lesson in how to craft the perfect adhesive (which I may post in the near future), creating a 50/50 mixture of paste and PVA in the microwave! A lot of book artists make this concoction on the stovetop with a double boiler, but this is a quick way to get the 'soft peaks' desired, as well as a good glue consistency.
We also began work on our first book project - an accordion style book. We practiced cutting and folding paper for precision, using a bone folder, and got a better sense of the various types of textiles (paper, bookcloth, board) that make up the meat of this book type. The Center had piles of scraps left over from other classes and practicing artists, from which I dug out this mythical looking, cream dragon and blue speckled, patterned decorative paper. After we had all the pieces for our accordion books, we got to folding, pasting, and cutting and then nipped the book between two boards in the nipping press. And voila my first bookbinding class project complete!