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J.K. Hickel Bindery has provided hand bookbinding services in the Grand Rapids area since 1987. It's our mission to provide each customer with the finest craftsmanship and materials needed to complete their project with satisfaction.


Book Repair

Rebacking, recasing, or other structural processes used to put a book back into service.

Hardcover Binding

New covers constructed of various materials. The title & decorative tooling is stamped onto the spine and covers.

Paper/Page Mending

Using various types of mending tissues to repair torn pages, illustrations, or to build out missing parts of pages.


Constructed to protect rare/special volumes, to house a collection of ephemera, or other storage purposes.


Hand-sewn blank books of fine acid-free paper bound in any size and design to suit any occasion.

About the Binder

Jean Hickel provides hand-crafted attention to the details of each project, large or small. Her studio in Caledonia, Michigan, handles all types of repair... for historical books, atlases or county plat books, cookbooks, log books, bibles, etc. She specializes in hardcover binding in leather or cloth, page or paper mending, box-making, slipcases, and other enclosures. She also makes blank books or journals...hand-sewn and custom-designed, as gifts for weddings, guest books or other special occasions.

Jean Hickel has a background of hand-bookbinding in her family. Growing up in Bristol, RI, Jean's father, Daniel G. Knowlton, was the Master Bookbinder at Brown University for 35 years. Jean developed her skills in their home bindery, and later pursued a serious apprenticeship while finishing her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Rhode Island.

She worked at both the Longfield Studio, and Markey & Asplund Bookbinders, to earn her certificate as a Craftsman Bookbinder. Jean and her husband settled with their children in the Grand Rapids, MI area in 1985.

One of her early projects involved the rebinding of over 100 books that were part of the collection to be returned to the living room of the Meyer May House in Grand Rapids, MI. The home was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and restored by the Steelcase Corporation, in 1987, to be used as a museum and conference center.

Jean was an early member of the mid- western chapter of the Guild of Bookworkers.


Services available by appointment only.

Email: Jean@hickelbindery.com