You can press a book with just weights, but this is a much nicer and professional way to press books for book repair. My wife is a librarian graduate student, and wanted to repair the old fashion "paper" books. I was going to get her a book press, but they are very expensive. I thought I could make one that would cost less than buying one.... and I did it!

Step 1: Gather the Parts.

I had to ask my wife what size books she'd be pressing. She told me that most books are 30cm tall, or less. So I designed for 1 foot of book. If you are going to press bigger books, you might have to alter some of these dimensions. But that's what I built.

You'll need several parts from your local hardware store or hobby store. Here's what I used, although you might have to alter the list slightly based on what you find. Oh yes, I don't know why, but every book press I saw on line used brass strips. I understand that the 1/8" thickness and the 1/8" overhang are important for making the crease in the spine... but I don't know what brass is important.

Materials for platens (plates)
(4) 1'X1'X3/4" wooden boards
(20) Brass screws
(4) 1 foot long brass strips, 1/8" thick, 1" wide

Materials for Press
(2) 3/4" pipe clamps, with slide lock and clamp on the same side.
(2) 3/4" black pipes, 12" or 18" long - YOU CHOOSE! :)
(2) 3/4" black pipe caps
(2) 3/4" black pipe flanges
(1) piece of wood for the base - I used a 2x6 about 20" long
(1) piece of metal - I used a steel U-channel
(8) 1/4-20 bolts, 1" long
(8) 1/4-20 nuts
(16) 1/4" washers

Tools that might help
Wood saw
Drill with various drill bits
Center Punch
Sand paper
Screw driver
Rotary Tool
Great project! I've wanted a bookpress for a while, but horrified at the prices. Grummer sells a popular press for $350 and it's just a little wood and hardware. The key component is the press clamp, and that costs less than $15 (see link: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://toolsandmore.us/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1268">http://toolsandmore.us/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&amp;ProdID=1268</a>) . Thanks for sharing!<br/>
<p>These are even better. Pricey, but for 100 bucks worth of clamps and a little wood you've have a much better press than the cheap commercial ones.</p><p>http://toolsandmore.us/shop-fox-d3221-super-press-clamp.aspx</p>
<p>If you put a &quot;spreader bar&quot; btween the tops of the pipes , nice and snug, the fit of the &quot;press bar&quot; (if you even need it) is no longer critical. I'd make the plates of 1 inch Baltic birch ply - possibly 2 layers glued together - it will NEVER warp!.</p>
<p>I would love to make a book press to make booklets to give away as gifts </p>
This is several months later and the press I built worked pretty well but over time the pipes began bending outward, and the top granite tile I had underneath the 3/4&quot; wood cracked down the middle under the U-channel bar. So I replaced that granite tile with a 1/4&quot; thick 12&quot; X 12&quot; stainless steel plate, a bit pricey, ($142.00!), but it's smooth and will never crack or rust!. All these extra costs make it much more expensive than the original instructable, but I liked the way it worked so much I thought it was worth the extra money and tweaking to keep using it. I also put a 12&quot; pipe in the middle at the top between two 90 degree elbow pipes to stop the outward bending. By the way I didn't mention it before but I used galvanized pipes, flanges and caps to prevent rusting. Hope this is useful.
One purpose of the brass plates is because it is easier to remove glue from metal than from wood and the metal can be more easily cleaned.
Hi, I'm a little late commenting, I only saw this instructable a couple of months ago. It looked far better and lower cost than the commercially available presses, and look much sturdier than other do-it-yourself presses. So I built one with a few modifications. I made the base as big as the 12&quot; press pieces as another person had commented to do, and I also got two 1/4&quot; thick 12&quot; x 12&quot; highly polished black granite floor tiles and polyethylene glued them to the 3/4&quot; 12&quot; x 12&quot; plywood press pieces. They only cost about $5 each and it solved the problem of getting a really smooth surface. I kept your wood pieces to better spread the load forces so the granite wouldn't crack. For smooth book covers in addition to the tiles I sandwich the book between two sheets of silicon release paper, one top and one bottom, to make sure the cover can't possibly stick to the tiles. My total cost in materials was $95, and lots of sweat equity. I've used it for a couple of months and so far it's worked great, thanks.
...sorry I missed out the rather crucial word 'glue' from my post (blush).
Great project, thanks for sharing. I think the brass is used in these presses because the is often water based paste, p.v.a etc. around and steel would rust and contaminate the covers whereas brass doesn't react in the same way. Any UK users ideas for sourcing?
Hey this thing would be great for small veneering projects! Thanks for sharing!
This is great! I'm a trained book conservationist, and I have had lots of experience with book presses. I wish the shop on my old college campus had seen this Instructible. The press they made for me was terrible.
Thanks! Being an engineer, I didn't know all the in's and out's of conservation, preservation, etc... but now that my wife is getting her MLS, I hear about it at the dinner table. And I've learned that conservation is TOTALLY different than what she does - but she still wants to play conservationist (Actually, Preservationist) at home. Thanks for the comment!!
This is great! There's nothing complicated about book-presses in geneneral, and your solution is elegant, simple, and achievable with only very basic hand-tools. I helped someone make one a couple years back ... this is better. The only improvement I'd make is perhaps making the bed larger so it could be used to press at the bindings and still support the leafs! Nice work!
Thanks! Yeah - I wasn't sure how big to build it. The original design was not going to have the crossbar, so I wanted to make it as small as possible so the clamp surfaces were as close to the middle of the book. But that wasn't going to work. The first time I tightened it down, the pipes started to spread apart. With the cross bar, I could go alot bigger. Also, If I used longer pipes I could do a taller stack of books. (This provides LOTS of pressure - didn't measure it of course.)
What is this for? Is it to flatten the wrinkled pages or to keep the book together while a new binding is put in? Not into book repair, so I really couldn't imagine how it works. Great Ible though!
It's for repairing books. For example, if you were reconstructing a book cover, you would press it overnight to make sure the glue adheres and that the book keeps its new shape.
So easy a kitten can use it? I can't wait to try this!
Great job! I've been trying to design something like this using cheap "quick grip" clamps. The brass plates for glueing hardback books is just what I needed! In excange, here's one thought for your design. On the opposite side across the bottom, you could add an even wider brass plate (and perhaps a short one on one corner). That way you'll have a flat surface/corner for aligning the pages when glueing a paperback! ;)
That's a good idea! My wife is going to start using it for any internship, and we might put that extra bar in on one of the plates. That should be easy to put in.
Nice one. Just a nit picky comment. At the beginning you make it sound like you are not using clamps, but clearly you are. Even still I like that application for the clamps. Got me thinking of other uses for a similar device to make repairs around the house.
Yeah, good point. I guess I should change that a bit. My thought was that you don't have to JUST use clamps, which looks ugly. Thanks!
Nice. I've several old bookbinding manuals and some show how to 'roll your own ' equipment. But this is the first modern 'take' I've seen recently. Thanks (great use of pipe clamps, btw.)
wow, amazing! (favorited) this could really come in handy for me. thanks!

About This Instructable




Bio: I work as an engineer. I am slowly building my home machine shop (and skills). I like to tinker and make, but I'm mostly ... More »
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