The Page Master

SkillsOne learns about the ancient art of bookbinding, and we visit an expert in the field in his workshop working to a real deadline. We chat to David Newbold to learn what is involved in this ancient craft. What is the future of this industry?

About David Newbold:

David served his apprenticeship at the N.S.W. Government Printing Office, working for twenty-one years at the Mitchell Library.

In his position as head gold finisher, David worked extensively in the areas of conservation and restoration of the library's rare book collection.

David operated his own bindery for five years prior to the formation of Newbold & Collins, and continues to teach an evening Restoration Bookbinding course at the Sydney Institute of Technology.

About Newbold & Collins:

Newbold & Collins has the reputation of being Australasia's premier hand-binding workshop. With a sound knowledge of book construction and repair procedures, archival principles and presentation possibilities, they are able to perform the tasks required to build and maintain a prestigious library.

Besides carrying out the standard tasks of a hand bindery, their facilities include:

* A full paper conservation service, equipped to rectify the degradation of works on paper.

* A portfolio and album manufacturing division catering to the exacting requirements of professional photographers and creative people wanting to display their work in a custom-made, prestige format.

* The ability to produce special 'one off' commissions. They are very proud to be associated with the Australian film industry and have made props for several productions.

- Babe - a cloth covered book used by Farmer Hoggett titled 'The Rules of Sheepdog Trials'.

- Matrix - a hollow book used by Keanu Reeves to secrete computer software.

- Mission Impossible II - First Class in-flight menus used by Tom Cruise.

- Sydney...story of a city - a replica of a 1930's United Kingdom passport, made accurately enough to be filmed close up and shown on the IMAX screen.

Not all the work entrusted to them has great monetary value, or is destined for Hollywood. They repair books of purely sentimental value, bind theses, periodicals, journals and other documents.

They have also replaced the leather lining in a rare Tea Caddy, regularly re-leather and re-tool writing desks and bureaus, and even made a hollow, leather covered book to conceal a cake from 200 unsuspecting wedding guests.

The partnership was formed in early 1994 between David and Terry. Both David and Terry are Master Craftsman Bookbinders who, in combining their trade knowledge and expertise, offer their customers the benefits gained from years of practical experience in book production.

The bindery's main area of operation lies in the repair and restoration of antiquarian books. Work is also carried out on hand bound limited editions, and deluxe bindings. Special presentation volumes and designer bindings are also undertaken, complete with a full range of slip-cases, folding boxes and protective covers.

Leather bound albums, visitors books, diaries and specialty items can also be commissioned.