Bookbinding tools take shape

January 21, 2008

The first of my tools are slowly being finished. The small ones to start, beginning with a bookbinder’s awl made from a small offcut of pine, shaped and sanded with a size 18 bookbinder’s needle inserted into a small pre-made hole. The eye was snapped off using pliers and the needle held in place using epoxy adhesive. This should give a nice tight sewing hole matching exactly the guage of needle and thread to be used for sewing the signatures.<a href="” data-rel="lightbox-gallery-l3OtArX7” data-rl_title="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA” data-rl_caption=”” title="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA">

Bookbinder’s awl

Next a folding stick, again made from a pine remnant, shaped and sanded. I am not entirely sure how well this will stand up to being used as the wood seems very soft. I may well end up making another from a hardwood if it proves not to be usable.

And finally for today, a flat folder, again made from an offcut but this time from a hardwood which I thought was mahogany but having worked it, I am now not sure. Nevertheless, it is hard and smooth and will do a great job.<a href="” data-rel="lightbox-gallery-l3OtArX7” data-rl_title="Bookbinders flat folder” data-rl_caption=”” title="Bookbinders flat folder">

Bookbinder’s flat folder

All of these were made to the precise specifications given in Aldren Watson’s book quoted below.

In the next few days the heavy tools should be ready – that is, the press and tub and the sewing frame plus various boards.


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