Picture of Book Press
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.

Picture of 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
jinvent4 years ago
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" wood cracked down the middle under the U-channel bar. So I replaced that granite tile with a 1/4" thick 12" X 12" 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" 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.
Earthlark4 years ago
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.
jinvent4 years ago
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" press pieces as another person had commented to do, and I also got two 1/4" thick 12" x 12" highly polished black granite floor tiles and polyethylene glued them to the 3/4" 12" x 12" 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.
arejeff6 years ago
...sorry I missed out the rather crucial word 'glue' from my post (blush).
arejeff6 years ago
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?
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: http://toolsandmore.us/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1268) . Thanks for sharing!
Stick44447 years ago
Hey this thing would be great for small veneering projects! Thanks for sharing!
bcr8ve7 years ago
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.
bgraham111 (author)  bcr8ve7 years ago
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!!
dlregis7 years ago
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!
bgraham111 (author)  dlregis7 years ago
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.)
jongscx7 years ago
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.
miss.emma7 years ago
So easy a kitten can use it? I can't wait to try this!
PS1187 years ago
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! ;)
bgraham111 (author)  PS1187 years ago
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.
dchall87 years ago
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.
bgraham111 (author)  dchall87 years ago
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!
gmoon7 years ago
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!