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Cigar Box Journal- Two Needle Coptic In-Store Class Sept 30

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Cigar Box Journal - Two Needle Coptic In-Store Class
Saturday, September 30, 11am-4:30pm 
 Richard Pollock-Nelson
Limit: 6 students. All participants must be 15 years or older.

Class Details:

This sturdy journal has two unique features: wooden cigar boxes repurposed as the covers plus a binding that’s stitched with two needles. The binding is a variation on the Coptic stitch, an ancient technique that dates to the second century. Richard Pollock-Nelson, a local bookbinder, experimented with several Coptic sewing techniques to find one that handles the heavier covers well. He found that the two-needle version, plus extra stitching at the front and back, resulted in a strong book that opens flat for easy writing or sketching. 

Richard starts class by reviewing some basic terminology for bookbinding. The work begins as you dive into making your own journal. You’ll first create a paper jig for punching holes in the signatures. (The holes for the cigar box covers are already pre-drilled.) Richard then shows how to set up your work and use multiple needles to bind the signatures and the covers together. His technique also works well with other hard, thick surfaces such as acrylic and wood panels. He explains in class how to modify the journal measurements for other sizes and types of covers. There are so many fun possibilities! Check out the colorful display of his books in the store or on his website to get some ideas.

COVID Safety
Due to the limited size of the classroom, social distancing will not be possible. Attendees of the class are welcome to wear masks. Help keep community members and our staff safe, please do not attend the class if you are feeling sick. Please contact ahead of time if you have specific questions regarding class covid safety.

Class Materials

Please bring the following materials:

  • X-Acto or craft knife with sharp blades
  • Optional: a brown bag lunch and some water for the 45 minutes lunch break

    Class Materials Include:

    • Pre-drilled cigar box covers
    • Pre-cut page paper
    • Ribbon bookmark
    • Curved bookbinding needles, thread, and bookbinding tools

    Class Refund/Cancellation Policy

    Cancellations made up to 14 days prior to the first class meeting will be refunded or, at the participant's option, used to pay for another class. Two Hands Paperie will retain a $10 processing fee for EACH class cancelled by a participant. After 14 days, there is no refund or credit. In addition, the fee for a class cancelled within this 14-day timeframe by a participant cannot be transferred to pay for another class. These policies are to ensure that teachers are compensated for their investment in materials and in time spent preparing for the class. We reserve the right to cancel a class if fewer than 3 students enroll 48 hours prior to the scheduled class time. If for any reason Two Hands Paperie cancels a class, students will be called at the phone number on file and refunded the FULL class fee.

    Instructor Bio

    Richard Pollock-Nelson’s love of fountain pens led him to bookbinding. While at the San Francisco International Pen Show in 2012 he bought himself a handmade journal. Looking at it, Richard decided he could make one himself. Though he hadn’t had any classes and, in his words, didn’t know what he was doing, he figured things out. His Christmas gifts that year? Lovely handmade journals with faux cowhide covers! Richard has since embraced bookbinding, attending advanced classes and earning a certification in bookbinding from the San Francisco Center for the Book. He’s best known to the Two Hands Paperie Community for the unusual cigar box journals carried in the store. Two of them were displayed at the American Bookbinders Museum in San Francisco during an annual exhibit held by the Hand Bookbinders of California. Besides cigar boxes, Richard also enjoys working with goat leather, Japanese paper, hand marbled papers, and other specialty materials. Richard still loves fountain pens and continues to attend pen shows, but now as an exhibitor selling his handmade journals. They are, of course, fountain pen friendly. Learn more about Richard’s work at


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