Bookbinding Press

Woodworking / Bookbinding

In 2003 Jim Peters published a bookbinding guide on the Internet. This describes a simple construction of a bookbinding press, which is used to bind a user manual. On the basis of the photo the construction of the press is well represented and the decision was made to make a replica. This project is also used to reduce waste of paper. It is also shown how simple bookbinding presses are in their basic construction and that they can also be built and used by untrained laymen and amateurs.


Since the material wood is used, some wood tools find their way into our list. This also applies to the smaller metalwork. In addition, some material is more bulky and must be moved at least by car or similar means of transport. Also the costs are more substantial, since one gets partly wood only reasonably in the building market and so far not yet online in larger quantities as final consumers can order. Some of the tools and materials listed below should be in a multi person household as basic equipment and handling should also be practiced. This saves cost intensive repairers and allows them to carry out smaller jobs themselves.

  • Wood glue and brushes
  • Wood drill inserts
  • Six (or more) 8mm dowels
  • Safety goggles
  • M10 threaded rod
  • Square
  • Sanding paper (80)
  • Sprucewood
  • Wooden slat
  • Sanding block
  • Metal saw
  • M10 nuts and wing nuts
  • Wood saw
  • Drill
  • Metrestick
  • Carpenter's square
  • Graphite pen

The Metrestick is used to measure the width of the crossbar, which is half the width of the hair angle (in my case). This means that a further measurement or marking can be dispensed with, as the centre is located in an approximate centre line.

The Square is applied to the edge of the board and the later centre of the strips is marked with a graphite pen.

The slat is laid lengthwise on the wooden plate so that the required length can be removed according to the eye.

After we have marked the wood slat with the graphite pencil, we can saw it with the wood saw.

The first finished piece of strip is placed on the wooden board again for checking. In the next step, the surface is finely sanded with sandpaper so that no splinters of wood are pulled into the fingers during subsequent handling of the press.

In order to insert the wooden dowels correctly, we have to pre-drill holes. We mark these on the middle of the strips. At the present time, the wooden dowel is used without gluing. This means that a change can be made at a later date.

After the control measurement, the longitudinal side moves exactly as the side of the width. The lath for pressing the paper is laid on and the two points for the hole are marked. These must not be too close to an edge and must not be less than the width of the paper. The length of the slat depends on the length of the wooden panel, which is sawn off to a perfect fit. When drilling, the crossbar is placed and drilled through it as well as the wooden plate.

The smaller piece of wood shown here serves as a gap filler, since paper can not only be laid in an upright position, but also in width.

The threaded rod should be long enough to hold enough paper, but not too long. A length of 150 mm was selected which was measured with a metrestick and a marker marked on the threaded rod.

The construction of the bookbinding press is finished and firmly glued, thus giving it the required stability.