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Tea Time

About the Project

This is a set of books commissioned by a client whom I’ve worked with in the past. A truly creative way of gift expression, these are intended as a wedding gift to the author. This book is a personal exploration of one’s life and unpublished, meant for private enjoyment. It was sent to me in a .doc file and relatively unformatted. Thankfully, the client was excited to work on designing the contents of the book and we typeset the entire thing together. Sticking with the conventional publishing standards, what started as plain text turned into something both elegant and beautiful, on the inside and out.


While I’ve worked with this client in the past, on a project that was intricately decorated, we decided to go a different route on this one. We focused much of our efforts on ensuring the contents of the book looked good and laid out well. Conversely, the exterior remained simple and mostly undecorated. With this in mind, I provided some examples of leather we could use and the client chose a fine Morocco in a “chestnut” brown. This is from the Oasis line of Morocco (Goat) leather offered by J Hewit & Sons. This is one of the finest producers of high-quality bookbinding leather and I always enjoy working with it when I have the chance. Skiving the leather is particularly satisfying and the blade moves through the skin like a hot knife through butter. 

I chose this particular hide because of the deep pours and “skin character”. Normally, these attributes would be flattened out with an iron polisher to create a smooth, glass-like appearance. However, since the client wanted more of a “distressed” look, there is minimal manipulation. More attention was placed on polishing and working on the spine and title panel, as these are the parts of the book most often seen from a bookshelf. In sticking with the simple design expression, we also opted to use a plain endleaf, as opposed to the marbled paper I typically work with. These endleafs are Canson Mi-Teintes in tobacco brown. All of the paper used in the project are acid-free and produced in a neutral environment – which ensures longevity and resistance to the negative aging effects that come with time. 

Additionally, since this is a “twin” set of books, I took as much care and attention as possible to ensure that each book matched the other. Hand bookbinding is inherently a custom act, with each book expressing different attributes during the construction. Accounting for this, there is minimal difference between each book, though, there are subtle individualities that can be seen – if one knows where to look. 


We are excited to begin working with you. Boston Harbor Bookbindery is experienced in designing custom, one-of-a-kind books for each client.

Whether you’d like to restore a family heirloom, re-bind a personal favorite, or print a book from scratch; we have just what you need to make your dreams a reality.


Tea Time


Full leather binding | Gold Leaf stamping | Printing | Typesetting