Introduction: Make a Sturdy Hardsided Book at the TechShop!

This is a great starter project to become familiar with some of the great things the TechShop offers. It will also give you a unique and personal way to keep papers organized. You could use it as a binder, a scrapbook, a photo album, a sketchbook, a diary (customize it by adding a latch and tamper resistant fasteners) or whatever else you can think of!

I made it at TechShop (

Step 1: Materials Required

To complete the book as shown you will need:

1 sheet 3/16"  2' x 4' - Hardboard Sheathing (use plywood or whatever will give you the look you want)
16  #8 x 32 3/8" Round head Machine screws with nuts.
4 small 2" utility hinges
3 3/16" x 1" Binding Posts (You could use shorter to hold less or  longer to hold more paper)

You could mix and match whatever hardware to create a different look. Stain a nice piece of plywood then use brass hinges and screws! 

Tools I used:
Center punch
Phillips screwdriver bit
Flathead screwdriver bit
7/32" bit
1/8" bit
Crescent Wrench
Compound Miter Saw
Table saw
Panel saw
Drill press

Step 2: Measure and Cut Your Covers and Spine

1) Decide how big you want your covers. I wanted mine to be 9" x 12" This worked well for my sheet size (24")
2) Mark a line at 9"
3) Take your piece to the table saw (I used the panel saw because the table saw was in use, this is potentially less accurate but I got a great cut)
4) Cut covers on table saw- This piece is going to be 9" x 24"
5) Measure 1" on the rest of the sheet
6) Cut spine piece on the table saw (1" x 24")
7) Mark a line dividing each of your new pieces in half
8) Use the compound miter saw to cut cover and spine in half

You should now have:

2 pieces 9" x 12"
2 pieces 1" x 12"

Set the rest of the sheet aside to use for another project.

Step 3: Layout and Drill Hinges

You will need to put the binding posts through the hinges. They won't do this on their own you will need to pre-drill the hinges on the spine side only.

1) Layout the cover piece with the spine piece and use a piece of paper to see how it will all fit.
2) use the center punch or a scribe to mark where you will drill the holes in the hinges. The hole needs to lay on the spine where the binding post will go through.
3) use the 7/32" bit in the drill press to drill out the hole in each of your 4 hinges (test the layout of one before you finish the rest)

Tip: If you are left with a burr on the hinge, take a firm grasp on a 1/2" bit and use it to ream off the burr by hand

Step 4: Mark and Pre-Drill Holes for Hinges in Covers and Spines

1) Lay the cover and spine next to each other.
2) Adjust the distance between the pieces such that the hinges will have motion and mark the cover and spine where the holes need to be. Use a sheet of 3-hole paper it to set the distance between hinges and center them on the cover.
3) Mark the holes with a pencil

Note that the hinges will be on the outside of the book for full range of motion.

4) Use a 1/8" bit in a drill or drill press to pre-drill the holes you have marked for the screws.
5) Use the same 7/32" bit for the binding post holes

Step 5: Attach Hinges to Covers and to Spines

1) use a screwdriver bit in the drill to insert the machine screws into the pre-drilled covers and spine. The head should be on the inside of the book
2) attach the hinges to the outside of the book sections by hand threading the nut onto the exposed screw.
3) Tighten the nut by holding it with a wrench and turning the screw with a screw driver (the drill could strip the screw out of the hardboard)

Step 6: Assembly

You should now have:

2 hinged cover/spine sections with 3 holes in the spine (matching a sheet of hole punched paper)
Whatever you want between them
3 Binding posts 

1) put the female threaded post through the holes in the back cover section (insert from outside to inside)
2) put your contents in over the posts, (I use this thing for TechShop SBU documents and sketch paper)
3) lay the front cover on. Again, over the posts.
4) screw the male threaded post into the female (outside to inside), tighten. Voila!

Decorate or not and get to Making!