Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Press

Home made sketchbook - Click image for larger view

I have been making sketchbooks recently. . .
Green Book - Click image for larger view

This one I made has hot pressed Arches 140 lb paper for it's pages and a great 'organic' looking clover handmade paper for the cover. This is a good size, 8.5 X 5 inches and has 28 pages all out of a single sheet of watercolor paper, some decorative paper and cardboard and of course white glue (PVA - Elmers) and a bit of thread. Some patience is required as well.
This one fits nicely in my back pocket.
Since I started making these I learned more and of course wanted more tools.  I looked at book presses and found that they are very expensive.. so I made one. I found the screw at Rockler for about $21, bought a few nuts and bolts ($12 or so) and had the wood on hand in the shop. Here is what I came up with.

Early stages - Click image for larger view
And the finished press… this should make the process easier and the books a better quality.

The finished press - Click image for larger view
Total working time - one hour and forty minutes - total cost about $35.00 - less the price for the wood which I had.  I would guess you could get the wood for about $25 - 30 - My top plate and the cross bar were made from poplar which I had from a sign project and the base made up from 3/4 inch birch ply - but you can make the whole thing from plywood and a half sheet birch ply would be more than enough to make this press. I have seen these presses on line for over $400 and an original cast iron press is MUCH more expensive.
I got a couple of questions of how I cut up a single sheet of watercolor paper to make a 28 page book.. so I drew this up to help with the explanation. Hope this helps out.
And I know that I am likely horrifying many bookbinders by having the grain run the wrong way on the one sheet but - hey, I live on the wild side. . .


stevmorpix said...

Beautiful job on the press, I think you found a new career for yourself. What method did you use for binding the pages together?
Steve Moore
Boca Raton, FL

Edward M. Huff said...

Steve, I stitched this one up like the one in this tutorial -
Thanks for your comments - but I think I will stick with sketching. . .and just being cheap. . .

Brenda Swenson said...

Perfect description... with words and images. Nice workshop, too!

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

Wow, that is a GORGEOUS book press!