Introduction: Laser Engraved Wooden Binder Cover
My wife loves the 1987 movie “Princes Bride”.
I had found a copy of the script in a store in Seattle, but I was not sure how to give it to her as a nice birthday present. I had a few feet of 11” wide by ½” maple board lying around, so I decided to make a laser engraved maple book cover.
I had a few feet of 11” wide by ½” maple board lying around, so I decided to make a laser engraved maple book cover. I decided to use lambskin for the hinges for the book and Chicago screws to hold it together. I wanted the look of having the screws exposed since I only had one chance to get this right as I had waited too long to make this project. If I were to do it over again, I would have made a prototype out of cardboard and put the screws inside the bindings.
I am assuming that the readers know how to use a table saw and how to make a 45 degree angle ripping wood. After cutting the front and back pieces to size, I made two smaller pieces 1” wide and cut the angle so that the wood front and back would be open with the hinge. I also drilled holes in the small strips using a drill press so that they were square. I drilled both pieces at the same time to make sure that the holes lined up during the assembly process.
I used a Trotech laser to etch the front and back of the binder. If I had it to do over again, I would have made the etched areas just a little darker. If you want to see an example of using a laser to etch material, click here.
I purchased a small white lambskin piece from Tandy Leather that was dyed pure white. It is about 1/16” thick and very soft / supple.
I applied water based contact cement to the rough side of the lambskin and also the backs of the etched front and back binder pieces. You need to let the contact cement dry for about 45 – 60 minutes. After the contact cement is dry, carefully position the leather so that the edge just starts to touch the wood. Be careful! You only get one chance at this. You will stretch the leather if you foul-up and don’t get the alignment correct.
I used a burnishing tool to smooth out the leather so that there were no air bubbles between the leather and the wood.
I turned the wood over and added the small strips. Make sure that you orient them correctly so that the 45 degree angle makes a “V”. Next, you need to apply a lot of pressure to the wood so that the leather bonds to the wood. You also need to make sure that there is nothing sharp on work surface to damage the leather as you press.
Use a straight-edge as a guide to help you trim the leather. You need to hold the knife at about a 95 degree angle to make sure that you don’t cut the wood as you do this. Again, you only get one chance.
When you’re done, insert the Chicago screws ( http://www.mcmaster.com/#chicago-screws/=rcb6vv ) and bind the script.
Wrap your gift and you’re good to go!
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