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Bookbinding Equipment

I went through a stint of wanting to learn how to bind books. Part of it was wanting to print and bind my own book. In the end, and partly because I hadn’t finished my novelette yet, I settled for printing and binding something of George MacDonald’s (which will be a different post).

There’s not a lot of retail equipment for binding your own books. And since it’s been around for a while, there are different generations of binding styles.

In the end, I made a book press (both for pressing the book and for providing a stable spine to work on), a sewing frame (for sewing the signatures together), and then the device on the right, which is just for laying out the signatures and providing a gap behind the fold, so you can poke an awl and string through easily.

Back left to right: standing book press, sewing frame, and the other thing I mentioned

Including the other materials, I think I spent about $200 total. For the custom stuff, most of it I got from the nearby hardware store. The rest just came from the garage or my wife’s sewing stash. And I either just followed guides or else eyeballed the few items you can find out there to make my own versions.

I learned the whole process and even made my own glue from flour. I can look at a hardback and know how each part is put together, and it’s always fun to de-mystify things.

After binding ol’ George MacDonald and rebinding a couple other old books, I ended up selling everything I had. The picture above is from the listing.