Current Events/Workshops


The Conservation of Leather Bookbindings
Emory University—Atlanta, Georgia
November 5-9, 2018


Sponsored by the Southeast Regional Conservation Association (SERCA), this week-long intensive workshop will introduce students to a wide variety of current techniques used to conserve leather bookbindings. Bookbinders, technicians, and conservators who wish to learn, expand, or refresh their treatment skills are all welcome. Previous bookbinding or conservation experience is required.

Detached boards are the most common area that leather bookbindings fail, and all five primary methods of treating this will be taught: mechanical sewing extensions and tacketing, inner hinge repairs, interior-board repairs (both splitting and slotting), outer joint repairs, and several styles of rebacking. Many treatments involve a combination of these techniques. Questions concerning methods of consolidating older leather, the archival qualities of modern leather, and leather dyes will be discussed. A variety of methods to pare, consolidate, and lift leather will be introduced. Since a sharp knife is crucial to success in any leather work, sharpening will also be taught.

Students should bring six to eight non-valuable leather bound books to treat. Participants will be taught how to pare leather with a knife, use a board slotting machine, a modified 151 spokeshave, a variety of lifting knives and tools, and a double edge razor blade paring machine. There will be individual consultations with students before the workshop to discuss treatment goals for their chosen books and determine if extra materials or tools might be required. Decision-making based upon the actual books will be discussed. The primary goals of this workshop are to equip participants with a more nuanced understanding of the pros and cons of currently practiced leather conservation techniques, gain supervised experience while performing them, and feedback when they are completed. 

Registration is limited. Participant selections will be made by the SERCA Board of Directors via the following order: SERCA members (new or renewing), practicing conservators in the Southeast, and other qualified applicants. Applications are due Friday September 14th, 2018.

To apply, please send your resume and one paragraph stating why this workshop would be useful in your conservation career to:
Kim Norman, Head of Library Conservation at Emory University (

Cost: $900 for existing SERCA members, $925 (including $25.00 SERCA annual membership fee for new and renewing SERCA members. Payment taken after review of applications.

Instructor Bio: Jeffrey S. Peachey is an independent book conservator ( and toolmaker ( based in New York City. For more than 25 years, he has specialized in the conservation of books for institutions and individuals. Jeff is a Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation who has taught book conservation workshops internationally. He was recently awarded fellowships to support his current research into 19th century bookbinding from the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (Italy) and Rochester Institute of Technology’s Cary Collection (New York). Jeff is Visiting Instructor for the Library and Archives Conservation Education Consortium of Buffalo State University, New York University, and the Winterthur/University of Delaware. His latest publication is “Ausbund 1564: The History and Conservation of an Anabaptist Icon”.