Fair Woodworking

May 13, 2017

How to Break in a Binding. According to My Dad. I Think.

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Favorites — fairwoodworking @ 6:54 pm

When I was a teenager, my Dad sat me down for “The Talk”.

He said, “Son. You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat their books”.

What “talk” were you thinking about?

Like my Dad, I’m not a skilled reader, and as a High School drop-out, I am the better educated of the two of us. Despite our inability to cope with the classroom, both of us in our own time have learned the value of a well written, and/or well made book.

We don’t use books as coasters, and we don’t fold the corners of pages to mark our place. That’s what book marks are for. Writing thoughtful comments on the pages was acceptable, but since my hand writing is worse that my reading, I abstain.

Part of our “talk” was a demonstration of how to break in a new book. A book is only as strong and the binding, and it’s a sad thing when it splits. I don’t remember where my Dad learned this, and I’ll admit I was only half listening. Heck, some of you who know more may not believe it’s even necessary, but if for nothing else, it’s a great way to say hello to a new friend.

Editors note 05/14/17 – It’s been brought to my attention, that a noted Journalist by the name of Christopher Schwarz addressed a similar topic a number of years ago. It is quite possible that my method is just a heavily watered down version of the same technique.


  1. I’m all turned on right now.

    Comment by paul6000000 — May 13, 2017 @ 8:07 pm

  2. Chris Schwarz also made a video about how to break in a book properly. Slightly different in detail.

    Comment by mbholden — May 14, 2017 @ 7:49 am

    • Did he!!?? How did I miss that? Well if anyone should know, it would be the guy that’s “just” a journalist.

      Comment by fairwoodworking — May 14, 2017 @ 8:53 am

  3. Nice. every time I get a LAP book I look up that video.

    Comment by Jeremy — May 15, 2017 @ 10:22 am

  4. I was taught to start in the middle and work out to the front and back equally in stages. Pin or tails first all over again!!

    Comment by Bob — May 15, 2017 @ 10:59 pm

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