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Eugene G. Stahnke is surrounded by the tools of his trade in his basement bookbinding shop. In the foreground are two refurbished history volumes, next to their original battered covers. (Hudson Star-Observer photos by Randy Hanson)

Eugene Stahnke still enjoys bookbinding after 66 year of practicing the trade

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Eugene Stahnke is one of the last of his kind.

He was a bookbinder at West Publishing for more than 40 years –- and 26 years in into retirement is still practicing the trade.


“I have a protégé who worked with me at West Publishing. He’s trying to get into the act a little bit. He may get some of my stuff, because none of my kids want it,” Stahnke says of a possible successor.

Are there any young people learning the trade?

“I doubt it,” he says.

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Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
(715) 426-1066