More Bookbinding: Making Equipment!

Just gonna throw this out there–I didn’t get to take Shop in high school, so judge gently.

I’ve spent my New Year’s Eve very productively: I didn’t do much by way of crafty projects this year so I thought I could stand to get a little in before the change over to 2014…

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve lately become exceedingly swoonful over bookbinding and book restoration. Taking it up as a hobby requires some fairly specific equipment, however, which, if you can find it, costs quite the wad. So I’m making my own! Sewing frame, piercing cradle, and eventually, a press.

Now, a real deal sewing frame would look like so:


As you can see, mad gorgeous. Sadly, I have neither access to a lathe nor adequate knowledge of one’s operation to avoid falling in and getting carved up, so I’m making due with some research and a few related (if rusty) skills that I learned during the several years my family spent working on houses to create a simpler tool set.

I started with a large sheet of birch ply, and marked out the pattern for a sewing frame and cradle. (The excess will go toward backing irons once I’ve done a little more research…) I didn’t take as many pictures as I meant to of the process once I got into the swing of it, but it was a fairly simple undertaking.

Birch ply sheet, lots of sandpaper, polyurethane, a nice workbench and a simple jigsaw saw the first round done in about four hours. After drying overnight, the assembly begins!

The workbench, which has a vice tabletop, will be my main work space for the bookbinding enterprise–the vice will make a nice option for a finishing press and stand. That’s the next project, and probably much easier than this first one…Still! I’m starting off the new year with the next steps, and hopefully in a few days I’ll have the tools for a start in bookbinding!


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