Bookbinder’s sewing frame

January 23, 2008

I’ve just finished the first of my larger bookbinding tools, the sewing frame. It is made of 4 parts.

Sewing frame

First,the cross bar, jigsawed, carved and sanded from a pine offcut.

Second, the uprights comprising two 12″ pieces of 18mm pine dowel drilled eight times each ½” apart to hold two small pieces of whittled dowel which prevent the crossbar from falling when under tension from the tapes.

Sewing frame detail showing pegs which hold up the crossbar

Third, the base which I originally intended to be a nice solid piece of hardwood but as I found this hard to get I used a 10″ x 18″ x ¾” plywood offcut which cost me 30p from a local DIY store. I used a router to cut the channel where the tapes will pass but this could be done – though less cleanly – with a drill and coping saw or the 2-piece method described in the Watson book.

Sewing frame base detail showing routered slot and upright

Finally, we have the wooden dowel mentioned above to hold the crossbar at the correct height and some flat pieces of plywood to act as anchors for the tapes under the base board slot.

The whole assembly will allow the binding of books with a spine of up to 11½” in length and as thick as I can ever imagine a book being!


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