About the Roadie

Photo by Kyeli Smith

Me at my workbench. That enormous cast iron thing is my baby, a stack-cutting guillotine.

The Book What?

Roadie. Indispensable to rock’n’rollers but invisible to the audience, roadies can repair, move, and organize anything.

Libraries need roadies, too: to repair old books read so much they’re falling apart, to box and transport books with the love and respect they deserve, to organize books so you can find them quickly.

That’s where I come in.

Books are Awesome!

Hell yes they are! You and I understand the value of the book as a physical object – we want the best blank books, hand-made and built to last (even if we don’t quite have the nerve to write in them yet!). We want our old, read-to-death books to be given new life. We want our history to be preserved in a physical form – our thoughts, dreams, plans; the stories we grew up with; the family Bible with four generations of family history in its endpapers.

The enemy of the physical book is twofold: mediocrity in book construction and the wear and tear on books over time. Poor storage conditions, bugs, acidic paper, careless hands, and just plain time all wear a book down. Even the best handling can’t prevent old leather from aging and cracking, or bindings from the wear an oft-read book goes through.

You Have HOW Many Books?

Book (and comic – the two white ones) boxes from my 2013 move. It “only” took 50 boxes to hold all my books!

Like a lot of bibliophiles, I have a bit of a … problem when it comes to buying books. I have an 80-inch-high bookcase filled with books I’ve bought that I haven’t read yet, and a total collection of 1,600 – and growing. (To be honest, I know enough people with more books than I have to feel like my collection isn’t really that big… until I move!)

The hidden benefit of this: I am going to be sympathetic to your book issues, no matter how crazy they might look to other people. Do you have so many books that the floors in your house are damaged? That is AWESOME. Have you kept the tatters of your favorite book from childhood even though the binding has essentially dissolved? I want to repair it.

Where other people might see weirdness, hoarding, lunacy, I see someone who’s one of my people. I see someone I want to know because we have these things in common. We’re part of the same tribe.

You Know How to What?

I’ve taken numerous one-day, two-day, and week-long workshops at the San Francisco Center for the Book. Their subjects ranged from rebacking (a common repair technique which we spent five days practicing) to paper repair to tips and tricks for doing editions. I’m a member of the Hand Bookbinders Guild, so I can keep current on new materials and new-to-me ideas. I am the kind of somewhat-recovered perfectionist who wants everything to be right, for me and for you.

What’s With the Handbound Journals?

The short answer is: learning to fix books involves learning to create new ones from scratch. Plus, it’s fun! And who doesn’t love a blank book?

The long answer is: blank books are magic. Handbound blank books? They have their own special flavor of magic. If you’ve read my Manifesto, you know I believe 100% that creativity is important. Sacred, even. Showing up for a meeting with your muse holding a hand-made blank book is like showing up for a date in your best clothes or wearing the stuff that makes you shimmy in joy when you go to a party.

Blank books are full of possibility, and I really dig that. I love the idea that I might bind the book someone uses to write their first novel (or latest novel!) or to do the journaling work that brings them insights, or sketch as they improve their skills. They’re exciting!

Think of me as the rockstar’s roadie who tinkers around building new, beautiful guitars for them to use when they strut their stuff onstage – and you are that rockstar.

Who’s the Guy With the Axe?

My limited-edition Eddie Riggs sculpture

My roadie hero is Eddie Riggs, protagonist of the awesome game Brütal Legend and all-around champion roadie. His ability to move, organize, and fix just about anything was a big part of the inspiration for me to become the Book Roadie. This is a limited-edition statue of him. The story of how I got it is pretty cool, when we meet, ask me and I’ll tell you!

Ready to work with me? Let’s get started!

Wait, Tell me More About Yourself!

Like what? Ping me and ask away!

Ready to get going? Let’s do this!