Well Done! Before going on to formal training I taught myself the same way. Its harder to get your foot in the door without showing some initiative. Certainly I'll agree with Bookbum on a few issues... But overall I think your job was well executed, and extra points for sharing it perfect or not. A funny thing I notice among colleagues is that we all started with massive "drawers of shame," where all our first attempts quickly went after realizing we could not recover from some silly mistake here or there. In fact, my first bookbinding instructor always said "The measure of a bookbinders skill is in their ability to fix their own mistakes." Something Ive always held onto...
Dont worry too much about the backing hammer thing. My first few books were backed with the broad side of a bottle. You do what you can with what you have. http://www.amazon.com/Bookbinding-Conse ... 1884718116
- This book has a great description of backing and using a hammer. I did what was described here my first go around, but like I said, I used a bottle. All that said, many binders dont even use hammers... Their are a number of ways to achieve the goal without the risk of using a hammer unskillfully.
Also... band-nippers can be expensive, and tying up can sometimes leave undesired marks on the leather. Six in one, half a dozen in the other. Before I had the money, I bought a higher quality pair of potato chip bag clips from Williams Sonoma, $12 or $13 dollars I think. Softened the edges a bit, and used those. The same effect as a pair of $80 nippers can be achieved. In this case though, with thick leather, you almost have to tie-up.
Also, sometimes you can call bookbinding leather providers and ask for seconds and thirds. These can be cheap ways to get your hands on good leather that is perfect for practice. These can be had in both goat and calf.
Keep at it.