Open Tues-Sat 10am-4pm: Closed Tuesday July 9th for a Private Event

Making Their Mark

Decorating and Finishing

Explore the detailed, exacting world of finishing—a centuries-old process of decorating book covers and spines. From gold-tooling to onlays, using colorful foils and shimmering gold, discover the tools, processes, and materials of book decoration. Experience the beauty of ABM’s hand-tool and embossing plate collection.

For Bookbinders, Finishing includes lettering, decorating and other processes that identify, beautify and finish a book. Those who focus solely on this aspect of bookbinding are called Finishers. When impressions are made by hand it is called Tooling, and by machine, Blocking.

For more than five hundred years, hand tooling of leather bindings has utilized heated brass or metal stamps, pressed into the leather to make an impression. The American Bookbinders Museum is proud to share its collection of finishing tools with you and to provide an overview of Finishing, including hand stamping tools and machine blocking plates.

Open Wednesday through Saturday, 10am-4pm: Admission is Free

American Bookbinders Museum

The American Bookbinders Museum is the only museum of its kind in North America, celebrating and exploring the history, tools and stories of bookbinders and bookbinding, from its earliest forms through the changes and innovations of the industrial revolution.

Learn more